<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Archive: December, 2017
 

Archive for December, 2017

Eat From the Pantry Challenge

December 27th, 2017 at 06:54 pm

I am joining some other youtubers in an eat from the pantry challenge for the month of December. My goal is to not go into the grocery store for the month of January except to buy dairy, greens, and bread. I think it is something we can accomplish quite easily based on our pantry and freezer stock. But just because we can doesn't mean it is something I want to do sometimes. However, we need to be saving up money for daughter's sinus surgery and taking a huge chunk out of the grocery budget to deposit into saving for that would be very helpful right now.

Of course this does not include the lamb we are getting at the end of January and which is mostly paid for anyway with the deposit we already put down. But that is December spending, not January spending.

I'd like to stay out of the stores as much as possible, but I know I will have to purchase prescriptions. I'll try to do that through drive-thru only. Though I may have to order some vitamins online. Still, if I can keep it to that I will be very happy. We have plenty of toiletries so I think it will go quite well.

I'll be detailing the challenge here on the blog as well as doing at least a weekly video for it on my channel. If anyone wants to join in with me for the month or even for a week or two, you are more than welcome to do so.

A Nice Christmas

December 26th, 2017 at 10:25 am

We had a very pleasant Christmas this year. The reason being was that we did not spend any of it with SIL or her daughters. We hosted at our house and had my mother, mother-in-law, and my eldest sister over. For dinner I made one of our hams from the whole hog we had butchered a couple months ago. It was fantastic.

To go with it we had from scratch mashed potatoes, homemade ham gravy, homemade cloverleaf rolls, my home grown and canned green beans, some Thrive Life corn, and for the deserts we had sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, milk chocolate fudge, and my mother made an apple pie with the apple pie filling she canned this summer. If you have never made ham gravy before, you should. It is fantastic. Very savory. Well, that is if you have a picnic ham. NOT if you have a sweet glazed ham.

I received 2 cold frames for the garden and I am so excited about it. They look very well designed and it will be so nice to have a season extender device that I don't have to remove and replace plastic every time I want to get something out. This should allow me to grow lettuce year round or at least 10 months out of the year. With the two foot high raised beds, they don't freeze like they would being in the ground, but if it gets cold enough they will freeze eventually.

My MIL gave me a garlic chopper so I don't hurt my skin again the next time I make garlic powder from scratch. I like gadgets. She also gave me $100. She had meant to buy me an Instant Pot or an Air Fryer, but she ran out of time. Of course, now I have the money in hand, I kind of want to save it. I won't, because I really want an Instant Pot.

It didn't snow, for which I am grateful. I so dislike snow when we have to drive in it and DH had to fetch his mom and take her home so he was driving. I just don't like adding slipping on ice to the drunks that are usually driving home from Christmas activities. Not a good combination.

Friday and Saturday we spent working on clearing out our storage unit. We are about half done and it took several pick up loads to do it. We are going to rent a u-haul for Saturday and Sunday so we can be out by the end of the month. They are not making us give the required notice if we are out by then because of the leak in the roof. We moved as much as we did with DH's dad's pick-up, which will be our pick-up as soon as all the will stuff is finalized. It will be weird being a two car family again.

There are so many toys in there. I found a box of Barbies that will go to my great niece and there are several boxes of stuffed animals. We need to find a place to donate the majority of those, too. I don't know if Good Will will take stuffed animals. I am wondering if the domestic violence shelter or the Agape House will. Agape House is a women and children's homeless mission shelter. My mom says if nothing else to hang on to them until next Halloween and she will hand them out instead of candy! I like that idea, but not the idea of continuing to store them all so we'll see.

There are several boxes of linens as well from beds we don't have the size of anymore, queens and twins. I know Good Will will take those, but I think the animal shelter will, as well, although the latter might just be towels and blankets and not sheets. They use the towels in washing the animals and the blankets to give them a soft spot to lay on.

There are a few boxes of papers that need to be shredded and old magazines. I am thinking about taking my portable power station and my shredder to the unit and shredding the papers there as opposed to bringing them back home to do it. But it is so cold I'd also have to take the heater as well. So maybe not.

Either way, I need to get those taken care of while DH is at work today so we have more space to put things. These units are not as tall as the other one so we can't stack as high in them. They also have a sprinkler system and we can't stack against those either. It'll all fit once we winnow out the stuff that shouldn't be in there anymore.

I think we should be able to clear about 10 big Rubbermaid totes that way and then we can take some of the stuff that is in boxes and transfer them to the totes. I prefer the totes since they are waterproof and stand up better to stacking than cardboard.

Well, I best quit wasting time on the internet and get to work.

Payday Report and Bonus

December 22nd, 2017 at 08:45 pm

Today was payday and included in the envelope with the paycheck stub, which they mail out, was a $100 Master Card for Christmas. I wasn't expecting any such thing as DH has only been working there for 3 months. It was a pleasant surprise. We will be using it to pay for gas, since we are changing storage facilities and will be spending the next two days getting as much moved as possible. The storage unit is still leaking even after they supposedly fixed the roof.

We are getting an 18 x 10 and a 10 x 10 at the new facility. Total monthly cost will be $250 as opposed to the current cost which is $484, a savings of $234 a month. I wanted a 12 x 30, but they didn't have any available. I am going to see if they will let us skip the insurance. With the stuff with the current insurance, I am not sure we will ever see a payout and quite frankly it will probably be easier just to eat the loss, considering there is a $200 deductible and they are just difficult to deal with. Calculatedly so, I presume.

Anyway, the payday report is pretty small. I just paid 2 things.

$1400.00 to Citi Visa (paid in full each month)
+_549.19 Medical Bill
------------
$1949.19 Total out

Some of this was money I already had in the checking account. With overtime DH's check was $1739.90. I currently have $94.07 left in checking. Citi is higher because we put a large dental bill on it, so I will have to make a payment on it next week as well to get it paid in full before the 1/3/08 due date.

I realized that I wrote out the check to the chiropractor last week, but I forgot they were going on vacation and would not be back until the 8th, so our next month's family plan is not actually due until then. I will void that check and dump it back into the checking account. I will pay the tithe out of that and the rest can just sit there. I will pay that bill out of 1/5/18 paycheck. So that tithe will be $173.99.

Next week will be a large payment to Citi again, the life insurances, and tithe. I will need to scrape up some money for the oral surgeon in January so my daughter can get her implant. I don't know how much that will cost, but I imagine somewhere between $1000 and $2000. Hopefully closer to $1000. Even if we had insurance it wouldn't cover that. It may have to come right back out of the Emergency Fund.

I got my payment from youtube today, so that was nice. I'll dump it into savings with the rest of my earnings. They are earmarked to go into an IRA.

Burned

December 19th, 2017 at 01:53 am

Did you know that garlic can actually give you such severe burns that you can lose sensation in that part of the skin and that it can blister and leave you permanently scarred? I found that out today the hard way. I was chopping up garlic, one of those huge pre-peeled bags from Costco and I was about halfway through when my skin started to burn. I had about ten left to do on that batch so I powered through. What I should have done was get up immediately and wash my hands with dish soap (the grease cutting kind).

Anyway, I did that when I finished and then looked up ways to take away the garlic sting. I kept coming across ways to take away pepper sting, but this was different. By the time I found something, I had my hand wrapped in a cold wash cloth and sitting on an ice pack.

So from the home remedies, the first thing I chose was aloe, which helped some, but not enough. Then I used vitamin E oil, which also helped some, but not enough. So then I covered my fingers in honey and stuck them in a glove, and let the three things work their magic together. The honey soothed it the most.

Several hours later, they still hurt, they are red and I am missing part of my finger prints, have a scar on one finger and a possible bubble blister on another. I am typing one-handed in case you were wondering. I may have permanent damage. This is a form of chemical burn, the chemical being one in garlic. I never knew this could happen.

The next time I do garlic for dehydrating it is going in the food processor or I am wearing gloves. This was worse than the time I roasted hot peppers and then touched my eyes, twice, within an hour. Anyway, I thought I'd pass it along. If you are going to be cutting up garlic for a long period of time, protect your hands. It's very painful and hot, but with all the things I used today it is down to a dull throb now.

I just hope tomorrow I will be able to zip up my own coat again. Today it was too painful. Judging from how much it has healed since the treatment, I think I will do another one in the morning. Probably just the raw honey this time, though. I think that is what actually did the trick.

You know, I like making my own garlic powder a lot, because you can't beat it for flavor and freshness, but it's going to be a long time before I make another batch myself. I think in future I will just get the big jar from Costco.

Meal Planning for the Week

December 18th, 2017 at 12:52 am

I got the fajita kits assembled and each bag contains enough for a dinner for four, plus four lunches, so that if I make the fajitas early enough in the week, the leftovers can be used for 2 lunches for DH and 2 lunches for DS. So now the freezer is getting pretty full again. There are 5 bags of fajita mix and 7 frozen casseroles.

We also got the rabbit meat cut up today. All of it except the abdominal flaps were cut up for stir-fry, sectioned up, and frozen. The flaps will be ground when we do the next butcher. Flaps are only good for going into the grind for burger or for making jerky. They are too tough otherwise for enjoyable eating. But we do try to use as much of the animal we butcher as possible so as not to waste what they gave up their lives for so that we might eat, and we have enough jerky, so burger it will be.

Here is my meal plan for the week:

Day One--
Middle Eastern Spiced Rabbit Legs
Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Canned Pears

Day Two--
Belgian Waffles
Ham
Strawberries (from out garden last year)
Zucchini Rounds (if I can find good zucchini)

Day Three--
Chicken Fajitas
Oranges

Day Four--
Cabbage Rolls
Oranges

Day Five--
Skilled Lasagna with Sausage (Homemade Hamburger Helper)
Salad
Canned Pineapple

Day Six:
Beef Stew with Potatoes, Carrots, and Parsnips
Salad
Green Beans

Day Seven:
Pork Ribs
Baked Potatoes
Broccoli
Oranges

Mom Loan Payback and College Fund Update

December 16th, 2017 at 03:08 pm

So we were finally able to make a loan payment to my mother. We have no consumer debt, but we still owe Mom some money. It is a no interest loan. I think we have only paid $1000 on it this year. But today I was able to make a payment of $250.

$35,000.00 Starting Balance
-__,250.00 Payment Made
-----------
$34,750.00 New Balance

I also restarted the College Fund with $100.00

$000.00 Starting Balance
+100.00 Deposit Added
-----------
$100.00 New Balance

Payday Report--First Paycheck from DH's New Job--Plus Thoughts

December 16th, 2017 at 03:04 pm

$1647.79 Paycheck Amount

Money Out:
+_164.78 Tithe
+__91.05 Internet
+_275.00 Chiropractor
+_100.00 Best Buy (18 months same as cash)
+_500.00 Emergency Fund
+_120.00 Car Insurance Fund
+_100.00 College Fund
-_250.00 Mom Loan Payback
--------------
$1600.83

Amount Leftover: $46.96

The extra money will simply carry over to next week. I don't have much left to pay this month, but the Citi card is due on the 3rd. We put all of our groceries, storage, and some of our medical on that. So the next two paychecks will be earmarked for Citi and the other first of the month expenses. It is a little weird getting used to budgeting on a weekly basis instead of a monthly one, but we'll stay out ahead of things and do just fine. The micro-manager in me will be very happy.

We purchased a new computer for my son on the 18th months same as cash no interest plan at Best Buy. He needed it for his homeschool, his old one is 8 years old and was so boggy it was nearly useless at this point, he wasn't able to do his math program on it or his French, because it kept crashing. He wanted a more expensive computer than our budget allowed, so we worked out a deal. $500 of it was our portion and how much we spent on my daughter's last computer, then additionally part of it is his Christmas present and part of it is his birthday (in March) present. Then he is paying me back $250 out of his allowance for the next 10 weeks. So I will be making payments of $100 a month until that is paid off, maybe more if I get impatient.

I made my first loan payment to my mother in a long time. It was only $250, but I feel so good about it. I also restarted the College Fund. Only $100, but that is something. It was nice to be able to tithe again. With no income coming in, there is no money for tithing. The Car Insurance Fund is for us to save up 6 months to make the payment in full, but I got started on it late, so instead of $80 a month for 6 months, it will be $120 a month for 4 months, since it is due in March.

I feel like I am on track and making progress again for the first time in forever.

Emergency Fund Update!

December 16th, 2017 at 02:37 pm

Yesterday was DH's first paycheck at the new job and I am a little excited to finally be able to add money back into the Emergency Fund. Watching it lose money as we had to live on it has been pretty devastating to me, considering how hard I worked to build it in the first place. But now, at least for a few months, we can add to it again.

$17,804.90 Starting Balance
+__,500.00 Deposit Added
--------------
$18,304.90 New Balance

$1695.10 to go to hit my milestone goal of $20,000 and $695.10 to go to hit my mini-goal of $19K. Monday I have to deposit my coin jar and a reimbursement check from Verizon so it'll go up a little. It is so nice to be on my way again. I feel energized.

Meal Planning for the Week

December 11th, 2017 at 12:49 am

We have been doing very well at keeping our food expenses down by sticking to the meal plan. I have been making some freezer meals, both ready made casseroles and uncooked crock pot meals that just need to be dumped into the crock pot. I need to make some more of the latter. I have the ingredients for 3 or 4 bags of fajitas, so I will make those tomorrow.

I used both a casserole and a crock pot bag this week when my sinus infection was at its worst. We did, however, get take out tonight for the first time in a while.

This afternoon I made up a huge batch of breakfast burritos. It took 24 eggs, 2 cups of cheese, 3 bags of tortillas and 2 pounds of sausage. It made 36 burritos. I individually wrapped them in foil and then put them in freezer bags, except one bag which went into the fridge. My husband and son eat these for breakfast almost daily. That should last them a fair while. DH dips his in picante sauce.

Here is this week's meal plan:

Day One:
Two Cheese Braciola
Broccoli
Baked Potatoes
Grapes

Day Two:
Pizza Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
Salad
Oranges

Day Three:
Baked Potato Soup
Garlic Bread
Salad
Oranges

Day Four:
Spanish Rice with Sausage
Salad
Oranges

Day Five:
Roasted Middle Eastern Spiced Chicken
Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Canned Pears

Day Six:
Brined Pork Chops
Fried Potatoes with Onions and Bell Peppers
Canned Pineapple
Green Beans

Day Seven:
Sesame Chicken
Fried Rice
Broccoli
Oranges

Did Some Looking

December 3rd, 2017 at 04:17 am

I did some looking and if we go with a facility that is about 15 minutes away, we can get a storage unit that is 12 x 30 for $200. At least if it is available. That means that we could drop to one unit. Right now we are paying $252 for the large unit that is 10 x 25 and $130 for the small unit which is 8 x 10, so a total of $382 a month. That would be a savings of $182 a month. Wow, I really wish I had got on the ball sooner.

Then we could work on winnowing down what we have and hopefully eventually get a 10 x 20 for $170 instead.

We might get a discount on the first month as well. I know that most storage units seem to have a move in special where you get one month free if you sign a six month lease. I still need to do a bit more looking, though. There might be something else that has better prices.

Our one year of special internet pricing expired. No more $71.82. They bumped it up to $120, but DH went in and talked to someone and got it down to $90. I am not pleased, but it is better than $120. I hate living in a town where there is only one company for fast internet. The others are slow and cause constant buffering.

I have still been quite happy with Ting. We have had a very reasonable bill each month since switching. I am so glad we took the plunge.

I earned a $53 commission for November from Thrive Life. That is quite a step up from the $13 commission from October. I am not sure when that will be deposited in my account, though. I didn't realize until last week that they did not have my direct deposit information. So hopefully that will show up soon. It will go into savings with the rest of my earnings for this year. I want to open an IRA with what I earned this year and put in every cent. It is not much, but I think I will end up with around $500 between them and my youtube channel.

I am really so glad that I got involved with Thrive Life. It has made my life so much easier to not have to peel and chop things every day for dinner. I know freeze dried foods are not for everyone, but I have been so pleased with the quality of the products. And if I only ever could buy one thing from them and nothing else, it would be the diced onions. No more crying when I cut onions, no more dealing with onions that go bad or sprout before I can use them, no more pain in my hands all night after cutting up several cups worth of onions. So worth it.

When it Rains, It Leaks

December 2nd, 2017 at 03:36 am

We have a leak in our storage unit roof. It ruined my husband's table saw and his small ratchet set. They are full of rust. It ruined one book, 2 pop up tents (the play kind), some old school report cards, a box of papers that just needed to be shredded, a video cassette cabinet (empty), an end table's feet so basically the whole thing, and possibly an original Jabba the Hutt action figure's outfit, but we are not sure on that one. It didn't look moldy, but it was soaked so we will have to dry it out and see. The rest of the action figures were just plastic, no clothes, but the whole case was full of water.

We videoed everything. There were several boxes that had mold on them, but no water damage and no damage to the books inside. We threw out some stuff while we were going through the boxes, too. Just some stuff that never should have been packed and put in there in the first place as we did the final clean out of the house. We took one pickup load of stuff to the dump and recycled an old computer monitor that was from 1994. It was an IBM brand monitor from a 286 (I think that was what it was called) computer from the early 90's. I know it ran windows 3.1. I don't think IBM has made hardware in two decades.

All in all there wasn't too much damage and our $2000 of insurance (no deductible) on the unit will cover the costs. I told DH I want to look for a new storage facility further from town, since they are cheaper. They have been raising the rates on this unit consistently every six months for the past few years and now the roof leaks and they don't know when it will be fixed. We have a 20 gallon tote under the leak at the moment.

When we do move to a new storage facility we will be going through every box and throwing out what needs to be tossed and donating what we thinkg is good enough to donate and hopefully we can get everything in one unit instead of the two we currently have. There is some furniture in there we will never use again and I don't know why we didn't get rid of it before.

Well, yes, I do, we were too attached to our things. And then inertia set in. I know there are a lot of toys that the kids didn't want us to get rid of at the time we moved, but now at 21 and 17, they could care less about so those can be donated, or ebayed depending. There are some boxes of clothes that no one will ever wear again, but of course we always thought we would, but we will never weigh what it would take to get into those clothes again and then some of them are children's clothes, too.

We have gotten by without any of the stuff in there and while I care about the photo albums and the books, there is so much that just doesn't matter to me anymore. When you live in 1000 square feet of space for almost 8 years you eventually become less attached to clutter and excess. I just wish we'd done this years ago.