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Trying to Beat the Heat

July 3rd, 2013 at 09:37 am

I received a $5 gift card from Swagbucks for Amazon yesterday and will have enough points by the end of the day to send for another one. I have a book on hold at the library so we will be going downtown today. I want to get a few toys to put in the rabbit tractors and look for some more glass water bottles. They really prefer them to the plastic ones.

It's been blazing hot the last few days and most of my attention has gone to making sure that the animals, particularly the rabbits, stayed cool enough. I am happy to report that all nine of the newborn kits have survived the heat wave and it's starting to cool down.

We've been eating a lot of cold meats and vegetables and fruits here lately. Cooking isn't something anyone wants to do because it heats the house up. I've been soaking my head with cool water and that helps quite a bit since I have so much hair. We don't have air-conditioning in this house. I've been using fans and icepacks and one day I even grabbed a bra straight from the washing machine (I wash on cold) and that kept me cool for a couple hours until it dried. That was on the day it was 90.

I'll be using the crockpot a lot this week to help keep the house cool. I'm keeping the blinds and curtains shut during the day, and having them wide open in the evening with fans in them, to cool off the house. Fans go all night and I wake up with a cool house that stays that way for a while. I'm putting ice in all of my drinks (which is usually just water), and making cold meat salads for lunches.

What do you all do to beat the heat? Especially if you don't have air conditioning.

Finally! In Which I Ramble A Lot

November 26th, 2012 at 07:18 pm

We finally got a hard frost last night. And I do mean a hard one. When I went out at 7 to take DD to school there was thick ice on the windows. Fortunately,I had some spray on de-icer. I started the car heating and defrosting while I sprayed it on. Unfortunately, there was a layer of ice on the inside of the windshield and you can't spray de-icer on the inside because of the fumes. I had to scrape it. It wasn't nearly as thick on the inside.

I checked all the windows to make sure nothing had been partially down overnight to cause it to freeze inside, everything was up. Then after I scraped it we had to sit for a while with the defroster going to get rid of the humidity that was making it fog up. The car probably ran for 20 minutes before the windows were safe to see out of. Fortunately, DD's school doesn't start until 7:45, she just likes to get there early. She was still fifteen minutes early.

I was really surprised because we've had such mild weather this fall, I was expecting it to continue. The broccoli looked like it was a goner this morning, but the leaves all thawed out just fine by mid-day and were looking as healthy and beautiful as ever.

I had to take DS to the foot doctor today. He had gotten inflamed ingrown toenails on both of his big toes. It runs in the family. Of course he did this early in the holiday weekend so he's been miserable pretty much since Thursday. The doc drained them and packed them with cotton and prescribed an anti-biotic.

We'll go back on Monday next to see if they need surgical correction after the swelling has gone down. It's a very minor surgery, he just cuts away a bit of the tissue and any torn part of the nailbed. They use a local anesthetic, lidocaine. DS had a lot of relief just by having the side of the nailbed packed with cotton. It will probably have to be corrected though if he is anything like me or his father. Bad toenails or not, DS has the nicest looking feet. He could totally be a foot model or something.

Anyway, so we paid out $4.76 for his antibiotic and I renewed my BP med while we were there for $40.00. And since that store happened to have some Haagan Das vanilla ice cream I got that too, for $6.49. A little more than I like to pay for it, but at least I found it. Considering I wanted to just tool on down the road a bit to Arby's and buy dinner instead of coming home and making stir-fry, that's not too bad. Arby's would have added about $35. And my cooking was better anyway.

I think the heater is going to have to stay on 70 tonight. I can feel the chill through the house despite having on slipper socks, a sweater, and an afgahn over my lap. I've pulled out the extra blankets for everyone, but we may still be sleeping in sweats tonight.

All of the birds were out today, even Silver (the shyest and most timid) and Lady (the duck). They've decided to be free range apparently. But they stayed in the yard and still put themselves into the coop a half hour before dark. Lady was less than pleased that her little pond was frozen over and she let the whole world know. Not that she's super loud or anything, it was just a constant murmur of complaint.

Fort Knox remains empty. It's just as well. It's warmer in the chicken coop with all 13 birds sharing body heat. We have to be a little more aware of the waterers now, making sure they aren't frozen. They will be eating a lot more feed now to keep up their body temps and be able to lay eggs. We got 7 today. There were five delivered to the box on the back porch. Both leghorns are laying in there now. Because why use a perfectly good set of nesting boxes when you have access to the world's best cardboard box?

Frugal Things I Did Today

August 12th, 2012 at 09:59 pm

1. Baked bread. One loaf. And I waited until evening so it wouldn't heat the house up as badly.

2. Picked a gallon of blueberries from the back yard.

3. Balanced my checkbook. Why is this frugal? Because if you don't know what your balance is, you don't know where you stand financially.

4. Cooked dinner in the crockpot. No heating up the whole house with the oven and no eating out because I was too tired to actively cook.

5. Added chicken manure bedding to the compost bin. Eventually we will have lovely free compost.

6. Saved vegetable peels in a bag in the freezer for future soup stock.

7. Saved the bread crumbs from cutting up the loaf of bread I baked in a baggy in the freezer for making meatballs in the future.

8. Didn't spend any money or go anywhere so didn't use gas, either.

9. Did a $3 survey for ACOP.

Little things add up.

Produce, Produce, Produce

July 31st, 2012 at 09:14 pm

I'm getting a little overwhelmed by trying to keep up with the fruit production right now. I picked a gallon of raspberries and 2 gallons of blueberries today. Actually, I probably picked at least another gallon of blueberries, but that went to the greedy chickens. I swear for every two handfuls I put in the bag I was throwing one to the chickens. With 12 chickens eating them it was a lot. I don't mind sharing, I just wish they could pick, too!

They are getting very friendly, coming right up to me and demanding berries. Some will even tap me on the foot with their beaks if they think it has been too long since I've dropped some berries for them, cheeky little birdies. I really should take out my camera when I pick because they get so close and I could get some great shots.

Anyway, I estimate I picked about $50 worth of berries today, not counting what I fed to the chickens. Everything is in the freezer. It's too hot in the house to process right now and picking is done either before eleven in the morning or after seven in the evening, when it is cool enough to do the work.

My biggest brandywine tomato is moving from orange to red now. It looks so good. I harvested a quart of green beans today, but I think that patch of beans is just about spent. Maybe another handful left that needs to size up a bit. I need to poke a few more seeds into the ground. There might be just enough time left to get a late harvest.

I have two kohlrabi the size of tennis balls and 2 about the size of golf balls. I think the two bigger ones should be ready in about a week. I am really looking forward to them as there is nothing like kohlrabi fresh from the garden. Some of the smaller ones are starting to swell now.

I'm not sure what's going to happen with the cauliflower. It got hot at the wrong time. I am going to tie the leaves over the small heads tomorrow, at least on the ones that the slugs have not eaten the leaves too far down on, to see if they will blanch. Cauliflower is not one of my favored veggies. I will eat it, but I only ever make it because DH and the kids like it, so if it doesn't survive, eh... The broccoli is coming along nicely though.

I harvested the last of the old lettuce today and pulled the plants. The chickens were happy to get those, too, the greedy guts.

The garden has paid for itself about three times over now, plus paid for all the canning supplies and sugar I have bought this summer. I am happy about that. I will be even happier when I start picking tomatoes.

I am thinking about getting some sweet corn to put up at the end of August. We did plant some, but just enough for fresh eating. I just need to decide between freezing or canning if I buy some. I would freeze if I had the freezer by then, but I don't know if I will. So it may be canning by default. It would be nice to buy local corn when it is 10/$10. I guess it will depend on how well my tomatoes do, because if they don't do well, I will spend my grocery money on organic tomatoes to put up.

I can at least buy good canned corn from TJ's at a decent price all year around, but I can't do that for tomatoes. And also, with the corn being killed in the middle of the nation from drought, there may be a higher demand for Washington state corn and I might not be able to get it so cheap, either. Well, a year without much corn won't kill me, if it comes to that. Now a year without potatoes, that would be hard. But those are growing in our garden just fine. I may not even have to buy potatoes at all from September to May if they are as productive as they look like they are going to be.

I don't think we are anywhere near being able to provide all of our produce needs for the year this year, but we'll have grown a good enough hunk of it to take a major bite out our grocery budget, which will make it easier to save up for the protein in bulk from sustainable sources. I would love to get my grocery budget down to $400 a month if averaged over the year, even if it means buying a large portion of it up front.

I redeemed two $5 amazon gift cards from swagbucks today and will do the same tomorrow. I wish I had done it yesterday, so I could have gotten 4 this month. Oh, well. Live and learn.

Meal Planning for the Week

July 29th, 2012 at 11:43 pm

I am going to try to do a few easier meals this week, I think. It's supposed to be hot all week and long and involved food is not something I really want to get into. I will use the crock pot at least twice. Oh, speaking of using the crock pot, I made up the applesauce and DH pronounced it very delicious. this is what I did:

5 apples, peeled, cored and segmented into eighths (I think they were pink lady or cameo, which are the only type I buy other than honeycrisp usually and they weren't honeycrisp)
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Put all ingredients in the crockpot on high for 6 hours. It was supposed to be 3 to 4 but I forgot about it. No harm done though. It made 2 12 ounce jars and one 8 ounce jar (or 3 half pints total, if I had been able to find more 8 ounce jars). Process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes to make it shelf stable. It is nice to have those apples out of my fridge produce drawer.

Anyway, planned dinners for the week:

Club sandwiches
Homemade french fries from home grown potatoes
Cole slaw

Spaghetti with homemade sauce
Homemade garlic toast

Meatball sandwiches made with leftover meatballs, leftover sauce, and leftover garlic toast
Leftover cole slaw

Pork chops
Fried potatoes
Green beans

Homemade pizza (made with leftover spaghetti sauce) and whatever toppings we have on hand, probably green peppers, onions, Canadian bacon and uncured pepperoni

Toasted ham and cheese sandwiches
Homemade chicken noodle soup (from a chicken roasted for lunches and then crock potted to make stock and then soup)
Cole slaw
Homemade french fries

Beef chuck roast made in the crockpot with carrots and potatoes
Green beans
Drop biscuits with homemade jam

Preserving More Food

July 28th, 2012 at 03:49 pm

This morning was nice and cool and the perfect morning for making jam without heating the house up terribly. I used my new food mill on the apricots and the blackberries, but the blueberries just went into the blender.

The results of my 3 hours of labor.

I ended up with six half pints of apricot jam, a value of $48 (organic jam has gone up, I priced it last week), minus the cost of sugar and apricots, so a net value of $40.

I did 4 pints of blackberry jam for a value of $56. The blackberries were free, so the cost of the sugar was $2. So a net value of $54.

Last I did 8 half pints of blueberry jelly. Again the berries were free from the yard so it was the cost of the sugar, $2. So $64 minus $2, a net value of $62.

Altogether I spent $12 on ingredients and profited $158 by putting up this jam and jelly today. I will likely do at least one more batch of blackberry jam, one more batch of raspberry jam, and one more batch of blueberry jelly this summer and any other berries will be frozen. I think I'll have enough jam for the year. I may actually already have enough jam for the year, but some will be gifts.

And another look at my expanded stash. We have used up one jar of strawberry and are in the process of eating a second and also on the first jar of apricot jam, but there are two more rows added as well.

I can't wait until I can fill a shelf full of tomato products. Another month and a half for that.

Back into the Routine

July 25th, 2012 at 08:58 pm

So after our lovely day off yesterday, and it really was great despite the traffic mess, today it was back to routine after a good sleep in.

Today I baked bread:

These are by far my best loaves since I started baking bread again. A lot of the time they do not end up so nicely rounded on top, but I've been letting them do their second rise a bit longer and it seems to be helping with that. No more fallen (but still tasty) loaves.

My pepper plants are doing amazing. It's July and look at the size of this one already:

There are six fruits on this plant of decent size, though this is the biggest and there are tons more blossoms. I have never successfully grown bell peppers so I am thrilled at how well they are doing. It helps that most of the month has been pretty hot with only a few days of cooler temps.

I picked green beans today. I filled half a quart baggy. I don't think I will get much more off these plants, maybe the same again. They didn't get into the ground soon enough and sadly have stopped blossoming. But I've got more beans coming in a different area of the garden so that is okay. And at least the other bean plants are fixing nitrogen into the soil.

I filled a gallon size baggy with lettuce leaves and picked another pint of blackberries and two pints of blueberries. I need to pick raspberries badly. I think there is at least a gallon of berries in need of picking. I hope to get to them tomorrow. Of course I need to pick more blueberries, too, but there is only so much time in a day and I had a lot of laundry to do today and had an appointment that took me two hours, so didn't spend too much time outside.

The squash plants are coming along well, except for one, which I may need to move. The tomatoes are looking very nice and hopefully the weather will continue and I will get the harvest I am hoping for later this summer. Broccoli and cauliflower are coming along nicely and there is some gorgeous kohlrabi that might be ready in about a week. Looking forward to that a lot.

Tomorrow I am planning on making jam. I am making apricot jam, blackberry jam, and blueberry jam. I just hope it isn't too hot in the morning to do it. I won't do it during the heat of the day and if tomorrow is anything like tonight, doing it in the evening isn't an option either. We need to keep the house as cool as possible without air conditioning.

Another Enforced No Spend Day

January 18th, 2012 at 03:39 pm

The snow is great for my finances. It's really hard to spend money if you can't even get out of the driveway! Not impossible, of course, there is always the internet, but I am well-disciplined when it comes to internet shopping and never shop just to shop.

I am so sick of the snow already and there is just no sign of it stopping. Last night they said we were supposed to get 15 more inches and it is well on it's way there.

There probably will be no school at all this week. This is the second snow day, and it's been really nice to lounge around in pajamas all week and not even worry about getting up, shoveling off the car, clearing the driveway and trying to drive on snow with ice underneath it.

Speaking of pajamas, I am so glad I made the investment in three pairs of full length PJs. They have made such a difference this winter in helping me to stay warm without having to turn the bedroom space heater on much.

I probably won't get to have any physical therapy this week. I've already had one session cancelled and I doubt very much that my next scheduled one will happen since the weather has only gotten worse. In fact, I may cancel it if they don't.

I did slack off on my exercises on Monday, but I did them all yesterday and then I went on the internet and found a couple of stretches for the psoas muscle, because I have suspected for a few weeks that it might be part of the problem. There were two I could do that didn't involve getting on the floor or on my knee. After I did them, I felt so much better! I've been in misery for weeks and these simple stretches relieved so much pain. All I can say is God bless the people who put stuff up on youtube and here's hoping SOPA and PIPA don't pass on the 24th and censor the heck out of it.

Turned on the Heater

January 14th, 2012 at 11:02 am

I can't believe how cold it got last night. It was 26 degrees F, but the wind was blowing hard, so the wind chill factor made it much colder. It's been so warm through December and the first part of January that I've been fine without the space heater in my bedroom for a while, but last night I had to turn it on around 2 a.m., because it was freezing. I definitely won't be beating the cold this week.

The wind comes down the side of the house my room is on and it actually whistles sometimes. Last night it was just roaring. It sounded like a train coming at the house or something.

It is supposed to snow this weekend. It hasn't snowed all winter (we had a few random flakes in late fall, but nothing real). We had one hailstorm in November. Otherwise nothing.

I hope it doesn't affect DH flying back to work on Monday. Four weeks without a paycheck is enough, thank you.

I have some more bills to do today and I need to catch the blog up on the ones I've done earlier this week.

I added $6 to the coin jar. Unexpected medical came up so I transferred $500 from the medical holding tank. I'll specify that out in another post though.

A Little Warmer

December 1st, 2011 at 09:59 am

I guess the sweaters were a good investment, because I've at least not felt chilled to the bone since I started wearing them. I still don't feel completely warm and I'm keeping my bedroom heater on 72, but I did have it up to a ridiculous 76 before, so it's an improvement. We had a very hard frost last night. It looked like it had snowed, it was so thick. Guess I'm lucky not to have woken up feeling frozen over myself.

I'm sick again which may be why my internal thermostat seems so wonky right now. I think it's just a cold though and not an infection. At least I hope so. I've got too much to do this month to be sick on top of it all.

DS is going to his first dance today after school. He is "meeting a girl" by their lockers and they are going to "hang out" together at the dance. I don't even know what that means. He's only 11 so it can't mean too much, right? They seem to have become best friends this year. I don't know if it's more than that. He's excited though. And according to the girl's mother, so is she. The dance starts right after school so I packed him an extra half a sandwich in his lunch box. With his allergies he may not be able to eat the provided refreshments.

DH is on a plane to San Francisco today. He'll be back around 8:30 p.m., though. It's going to be a long day without him here.

I've got bills to pay today. So far I have dealt with deducting the autopays of life insurance, car insurance, house insurance, storage, and the security system from the checkbook. I've paid the electric and I need to do AMEX and the mortgage on the old house. I believe that is all until the 16th. I'll have to double check my spreadsheet after I pay those two things.

Oh, yesterday we wrote a $35 check for DS's next belt test at tae kwon do which is next Thursday. I also spent $65.32 at the grocery store. They had turkey thighs and necks pretty cheap so I stocked up. Beef prices are so ridiculous and nothing was marked down for quick sale. We're going to be eating a lot of chicken and turkey until the prices decide to get reasonable again. I also bought milk, oranges, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. I also picked up a copy of Clean Eating Magazine and have already found a couple of recipes I want to try this month.

New Clothes, Moving Money, and Bonus Musings

November 29th, 2011 at 06:36 pm

I added $9.56 to the coin jar today.

I did a bit of clothing shopping. It's been a very long time since I've bought much in the way of clothing, but since losing the 45 pounds almost everything is too big. I have also been very cold lately to the point that jacking up the heat doesn't help and neither does three blankets on the bed.

So I got a couple of turtlenecks to wear under my nightgown. I also got three chenille sweaters, two zip front and one pullover, and I got two new pairs of jeans in the smaller size. That gives me four pairs of jeans (I had two in my closet from a long time ago). I think this should keep me until spring.

If the turtlenecks don't keep me warm I may end up getting an electric blanket. I don't particularly like using those because I always take water to bed with me and I have a tendency to spill and I'm always worried I am going to shock myself or something. It's getting so that the only time I feel warm is in the car with the heat jacked up or in the shower.

DH bought a new pillow and we got some medicines and a new pair of tweezers and (very bad) four bottles of soda. They were cheap, at least.

I transferred the money from ING to my checking account today for first of the month bills. Of the money I had set aside I still have $648.08 left. I will probably put $200 in the emergency fund and then if I don't need the rest between now and the 16th, I will put what is left into the January/HSA money.

We got paperwork in the mail in case we want to put DH's bonus into his 401K. We don't, it's earmarked for debt repayment, but if they sent him that, it means he is definitely getting one. And also I wouldn't think they'd send out 401K paperwork unless it was a substantial amount to put in there. Two to three more weeks to go to find out just how much it is going to be. I hate living in suspense. But it is at least good news that there will be one.

Busy Weekend

September 11th, 2011 at 09:20 pm

This weekend has been very busy for me. We went down to the creek today and waded around in it. It was so hot, but the creek is nicely shaded by trees and it is free entertainment. It is a lot lower than I am used to seeing it. Maybe down by 2/3rds. It wasn't as cold as I'm used to it being either, but it was cold enough to be refreshing. I was almost tempted to take the kids to a movie today because of the heat, but the creek (and my trying to be frugal) won out.

We went to the grocery store and did the shopping for the week. I spent $85.42 and found 2 cents in the parking lot so that went into the coin jar. I found two of the pot roasts that were cut right and were on special marked down so snapped them up. We'll have them the next two Sundays. I made the one I found last week today in the crockpot. It was nice not to heat up the house. I made corn on the cob and potatoes and green beans all in the microwave.

I bought several cucumbers and deli meat. When I got home divided up the deli meat and froze part of it for later in the week. It doesn't keep for more than 3 days since it has no preservatives or additives. I peeled the cukes and sliced them up. My diet requires a lot of low glycemic veggies per meal so it is so much easier to grab out several slices and add it to whatever protein I am eating at that meal. Without the prep I might be tempted to ignore the veggies. At least I never seem to get tired of cukes.

The diet is going well. I'm down 4.4 pounds just since starting it. That makes 31 or so since the surgery. I've got a ton more energy since starting it, too. Exercise was a bit lax this week, other than swimming on Monday and walking a bit today. This week will hopefully go better.

The painters finished the house today and the painted the front and back doors (which look gorgeous). They still need to do the back deck, but then they will be gone. I will be glad to see them go. They smoked a lot and the kids couldn't really go outside without having coughing fits.

I taught myself some more html coding today. I got the hang of most of it, but one more thing I need to work on before I move on with the lessons. I had to learn it since LJ's rich text editor has not worked correctly since the last "upgrade" a month ago. I prefer to edit my stuff there if I later see a mistake and RTE isn't making that possible.

Not too much on the financial horizon. I will have physical therapy tomorrow so $60 for that, $55 for DD's musical theater class on Tuesday, money for parking at Virginia Mason on Tuesday and a little extra "just in case" money. There shouldn't be anymore money out until payday Friday.

Ready for Autumn Now

September 8th, 2011 at 09:18 pm

We've had temps that have hit the 80's almost daily for the past week. I am melting in this heat. It's September in the PNW. It's supposed to be rainy and cool or at the most 70 with a breeze. It's hard in a house with no A/C, and my mother does not have the sort of windows that work with the window units from our old house. We didn't use them much, but on days like this we would. I'm doing my best with keeping curtains closed during the day and running the fans all night with open windows, but it can only do so much. It is nice not to have an electric bill that goes alone with A/C, but right now I'm not sure I care that much.

Today after school I took my daughter to buy her jazz shoes for her musical theater class. Oh, my gosh, size 12. She's surpassed me. I know jazz shoes run a little small, but still. Anyway, the shoes cost $37.99. Ouch. They were half that two years ago.

After DS got out of school we went up to Office Max to buy the remainder of the school supplies now that both kids have complete lists. Well, mostly. I still have to get a tissue box and a hand held pencil sharpener. I had to buy two scientific calculators. They were $18 each. I told them if they lost them or broke them they were replacing them out of their allowances.

DS's tournament entry fee is going to cost $65. He's going to do the yellow belt poomse. DH will be home to do the driving. It's only in Marysville so not too far away, but still more than I want to drive if I don't have to. I went in with him to his class tonight. He's amazingly focused and disciplined. It's a far cry from how he used to be. I stayed for the whole class though my back was yelling at me by the end. Next time I think I will stay in the car with the seat reclined until the last ten minutes of the class. I'm just not capable of sitting on those hard benches for so long yet. Instructor seems to think he has a good chance at a silver medal.

Day 2 of my diet went okay. The scale was down .6 of a pound this morning. No cravings. Not as much hunger as yesterday, but I definitely have a killer carb withdrawal headache. I don't think it's caffeine withdrawal because I was only drinking one can of Pepsi Throwback a day.

I still haven't remembered to go to CU #2 for the Safety Net deposit. I have it in my purse and everything but I am such a ditz right now with all the other stuff I have to remember. I have $300 left for the next week until payday. I'm going to go ahead and let them take the security system payment out of that amount instead of transferring the money from the holding tank, then I'll sweep the money I set aside for it into the EF. Hopefully I will remember to do both tomorrow.

Too Hot to Cook!

September 6th, 2011 at 06:29 pm

Tonight the house was too hot to turn on the oven or the range so instead I decided it was leftover night. There were some leftover chicken legs, some leftover tuna fish, and some leftover pulled pork. We all chose one and ate it cold. We also had cucumbers and watermelon and milk. Very simple and no adding to the major heatwave going on right now.

Tomorrow starts my diet and I will be using my new baby George grill. It was $19.99 plus tax. That won't heat up the house much, fortunately. I am roasting a whole chicken tomorrow, hot day or not so I can have a bunch of cooked protein on hand. Or maybe I'll put it in the crock pot and set it on the back porch.

As I've mentioned we had a ridiculously cool summer while everyone else was going through a heatwave. Now when summer is almost gone we finally get hot days in the low 80's. It's scheduled to be around that for the next ten days or so. I think we are in for an Indian Summer. We will definitely be using the pool as much as possible.

I forgot to mention that I added $1.55 in coins to the coin jar yesterday from DH cleaning out his wallet. Today I added $3.73 from my purse. I didn't make it over to the CU yet to deposit the money into the safety net. I forgot both yesterday and today. I will try to remember to make the deposit tomorrow after I take DS to school.

This and That

August 15th, 2011 at 02:41 pm

I need to sit down with my budget spreadsheet and figure out exactly what I need to do with the next paycheck. I'd like to send $2000 of it to debt repayment and then make sure that I have enough money set aside to cover the bills until the start of the next paycycle. There will be one more paycheck after that, the small one with two days on it, and that one I'd like to bank in it's entirety, part to the EF and part for future medical savings, but I might only be able to do one of those. One way or another though I am getting my EF up to $2000 this month.

DH's b'day is coming up and I know what he wants and how much it will cost so that is included in there, also. And his allowance has to come out of next week's check, too. I have been debating what to do with my allowance. DH gets $100 every six weeks.

I usually don't spend that much, usually getting a season or two of some show I want on DVD or something like that and using the rest on cooking magazines, but right now I don't want anything so I am thinking about setting it aside in another savings account. I've been toying with the idea of getting an Index Fund through Vanguard to generate some side income (the one I am looking at pays dividends). It costs $3000 to buy in. So it would take a while to save that much up, but what else am I going to do with it on the months where I have no interest in spending my allowance?

Today has been a slow day. I had to use the heater again last night and this time I left it on all night. Today is cool and about 65 with a breeze. I'm convinced we're never going to see any true summer weather here this season. I had physical therapy so $60 out for that.

We picked about 3 gallons of blueberries last night and there's still just so much more to do. I can't believe how much two six foot tall bushes can produce. I'll make another batch of cornbread blueberry muffings today, but that only uses about a cup of blueberries. We'll make jelly with about half of what we picked and freeze the other half for later use.

The two new chickens are finally old enough that they should start laying eggs soon. I keep hoping to go out there and find three or four instead of the usual one or two. The fun part is that when they start laying often times they will produce double yolk eggs for the first six months. The kids love having a fried double yolker.

Someone remind me why it's not a good idea to start up any kind of dialogue with a troll, and then whack me with a copy of the Complete Tightwad Gazette if I do. I don't even know if this person really believes what they are saying or is just trying to start arguments, but this person can't respond to anything without insulting the person she is talking to/and or making inflamatory comments in general. Very wrong inflamatory comments.

Oh, well, I am done with them. I am so used to friendly disagreemets on all the boards I'm on, that this person just threw me for a loop and I totally don't need the drama. I tend to hang out at nice places online, where people discuss things respectfully, so it always surprises me when a troll shows up and doesn't abide by the unwritten rules of niceness. It shouldn't but it does. I will just ignore this person in future.

I Used the Heater, Sewed on a Button, and Meteors

August 14th, 2011 at 03:39 pm

I cannot believe it got so cold here last night. The middle of August is usually quite warm at night, but this year has been anything but typical. While the Eastern and the middle states have been sweltering in heat waves, we've been lucky to have the thermometer touch on 70 and even then there's a breeze that makes it feel like 65.

Last night was just downright cold for me. I added a blanket to the bed and when I still couldn't get warm added another one. Finally about an hour later, I got up and turned on the heater. This is just a small, energy efficient ceramic heater I keep in the bedroom. I only ran it for ten minutes, but it was enough to warm up the room so I could then fall asleep. I had hoped to beat the cold without it, but it was not to be. Still, ten minutes is not that much time so I don't feel bad about it.

I sewed a button on one of my nightgowns today. The buttons on it are star-shaped but the new one is round and a little larger. It might not match in shape but it matches in color, being opalesent. It's one of my warmer nightgowns and I've had it for several years, but the top part kept popping open after I lost one of the stars. If it doesn't keep them from popping open I will replace the rest of the star buttons with more round ones. We have the big bin of buttons my grandmother collected to search through to find similar sized ones. I don't really care if they match much as it's not like I wear it out in public.

We saw some meteors from the Perseids last night and the night before. This is the first year since I've started looking that I've seen them. Usually there's a cloud cover, but the sky was empty and bright. Moon was gorgeous, too.

I spent $27.18 getting takeaway for lunch today for me and the kids. It will last us about three days worth of lunches, so a total of nine meals (3 each). Put that way it is $3.02 per meal per person. Which isn't that bad. It still puts me under budget for the day if I watch what I make for breakfast and dinner.

I paid my daughter back the $3 I borrowed from her the other day while we were out and I'd left my cash at home. That leaves me with a $10 bill for cash for the week and enough money in the checking account to pay for physical therapy this week and still have $60 left (for milk and probably bread as I am not up for making it right now and maybe some fresh Udon if they restock the flavor the kids like).

Speaking of physical therapy, I am down to one hour a week instead of an hour and a half. That reduces the amount I pay each week from $90 to $60. With not going at all for five weeks, I saved a fair bit there, but I think the muscles around my knee atrophied a little with so much time in bed. PT thinks we can get it back in about six weeks, but doesn't want to overdo it because my abs are still quite sore.

Speaking of the abs, the incision site has now closed completely and scabbed over. My bandages have had nothing on them for 12 hours so I don't have to use them anymore. Which is great because I have been having a skin reaction to the tape (doesn't matter what kind, plastic or paper, they itched like crazy and caused a rash). It's less itchy already.

It's Hot Out

August 3rd, 2011 at 11:47 am

We haven't had much of a summer this summer, but this week has been pretty nice. Today it's downright hot out, but there is a good breeze blowing. I am on the side of the house where the sun is not (it rises on this side but quickly moves over) so it is a bit more comfortable here than in other parts of the house. Enough to stay cool with fans, which is good, since this house has no AC.

My neighbor out at the old house (the one that keeps an eye on the place for us) called wanting to know what we wanted to do with our old metal swing set. The type that's good until the kids are about six or seven and then they outgrow it. He has some friends who have toddlers. I said they could have it. I know I might have been able to get money for it (maybe $20), but if someone had been able to give us one for free when we had young kids and no money I would have really appreciated it.

We never set it into the ground with concrete so it's easy enough to move. Two strong guys or a strong guy and a strong woman could just pick it up and very awkwardly move it down the street. We were planning to put it at the curb with a free sign the next time DH came home and we could spend some time out there, so that's one more thing crossed off the list of stuff to get rid of from out there and now we don't have to mow around it.

My mother taught my son how to use a lawn mower today. I gave permission first. He's eleven, but he's clever with mechanical things. So maybe he'll be able to help with that chore when we go out to the house. I can do all sorts of supervising, but no pushing with my ab muscles for several weeks yet.

That house we like is still for sale but now they've put up a for rent sign as well. I don't like that idea. I really wanted it to languish on the market for another year and a half so we could make a nice low ball offer. Renters would make things a hassle. They don't tend to treat homes well (in my experience, I did some cleaning for a service that did that after people moved out of apartments) and I dont like the idea of that happening to that house. I know it's ridiculous to even think it will still be on the market when we are ready for it, but they have gotten no offers at all. If they get renters in there though, they would likely have a lease so even if we could buy it in the future we would have to wait on a lease to be up to move in. Oh, well. I can't be possessive of it, no matter how much I like it. It's not ours!

It Worked

October 16th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

I talked yesterday of my plan to put our picnic quilts (since we don't need them until spring) up over the two windows in my bedroom between the shades and the heavy duty drapes to help fight against the cold, since my room is the coldest one in the house. And it worked. I didn't have to turn on the space heater and my room was still pleasant when I woke up in the morning.

And there were still hot coals in the woodstove, too so I didn't have to make a fire from scratch. I love when that happens. Most of the time the wood is burned to ash by morning, but every once in a while I luck out. It takes away about 20 minutes of prep time to get a roaring fire going again.

I have to go to the craft store today. I'm dreading it. I have a list though and if it's not on there I'm not buying it.

Trying to Beat the Cold

October 15th, 2008 at 02:54 pm

My room gets colder than the rest of the house for some reason during the winter. It also gets hotter than the rest of the house in the summer. The second part makes sense because the sun sets on my end of the house in the evenings and it's over there a good portion of the day, from about 1:00 or so on. Which to me means it should also be warmer in the evenings during the winter, but it's not. It never is.

We use a woodstove as our primary heatsource with the propane as back up. The propane furnace is set to 60 degrees so that if for some reason the woodstove doesn't make it through the night or burns out, the house won't drop below 60. The nights are already below freezing, have been since about mid-September and if the crawlspace under the house gets too cold the pipes will freeze. It's usually not a problem, I haven't had the furnace kick on in years.

Not that that matters at the moment. What matters is how cold my room is. I have to sleep with my door shut because I can't handle the light from the skylight in the living room coming in and keeping me awake, which means my room doesn't get the nice woodstove heat. I do have a little space heater that I use if it gets depserately cold, but mostly I survive with several blankets on the bed, sleep in sweats and wear slipper socks. This week I've had to use the space heater the past two nights to be warm enough to fall asleep. It has a timer on it so it doesn't run more than an hour before shutting off.

I've decided to put blankets up over my windows to see if that will help. I already have shades and very thick, heavy night curtains over the windows, but I can still feel cold coming in there, so I am going to put our two thick picnic quilts up over the window frames with thumbtacks and see if that doesn't help keep the room warmer. I really don't like using the space heater because it's electric and my electric bill is running just under $160 a month.

I wish I could just fall asleep when I was cold, but I can't. And losing sleep right now is not an option, as I'm fighting a cold and need to be alert enough in the mornings to homeschool the kids.