<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: Spending Journal
 

Viewing the 'Spending Journal' Category

Picked up Our Pork Order--Breakdown on Cuts

October 21st, 2017 at 12:28 am

We picked up the majority of our pork order today. The hanging weight on the hog (the amount after it has been gutted) was 245 pounds, so at $500 it worked out to $2.04 per pound. The bacon, ham, and sausage links will not be ready for another 7 to 10 days. Curing takes longer.

So anyone who has not purchased this way before can get an idea of what you get, this is what we have so far.

6 packages of spare ribs (at least 4 pounds each)
2 loin roasts (at least 2 pounds each)
3 shoulder roasts (at least 4 pounds each)
42 pounds ground pork
12 packages of pork chops (48 chops)
4 packages of pork steaks (16 steaks)

What is to come:

42 pounds of sausage links
I'm not sure how much bacon, but quite a bit
4 hams

Now they told me that each hog has 2 hams of about 17 to 18 pounds. I am having each ham cut in half, so they should be 8 to 9 pounds each. Every time we make up a ham, I will can the excess in cubes in pints and half-pints. Then on pizza night, a half-pint will be perfect and on ham and potato soup night a pint will be perfect.

Actually, come to think of it, I am supposed to be getting some shanks, too. They were not in what I got today. I thought I had told them not cure those, but I can't remember for sure and they might have done so, which would explain why I didn't get them today. Curing will make them ham-like, too. No big deal if they were cured, but I need to remember to make sure they are in the second half of the order.

I am going to be making jam and pie filling with a lot of the frozen berries that were in the freezer. I needed to get them out of the way for the pork. A lot of these berries are from last year. I plan to make strawberry jam, blueberry pie filling, blackberry jam, and maybe bumbleberry jam, too (which is a combo of blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, and blueberry). Or syrup. We'll see. And then if I can find the frozen plums, plum sauce and plum butter.

But strawberry is first up, because it is DH's favorite, we're out, and he keeps buying it. He won't have to do that if we make it at home and keeping him out of the grocery store is always beneficial to our budget.

Rheumatologist Visit and Opthamologist Visit

September 30th, 2017 at 11:30 pm

On Thursday I had my appointment with the Rheumatologist, so that was a $40 co-pay. She is pleased that the medicine I've been on for 2 months is helping to the extent it is, but she thinks we could see more improvement to get my quality of life back close to where it was before things got so bad. She prescribed methotrexate, which is only taken once a week. The most common side effect is nausea, which I don't do well with, but so far no sign of it. The dosage gradually increases every two weeks until it gets were it needs to be. I am to continue to take the hydroxychloroquine as well.

The new prescription cost $36.09, plus I have to take vitamin B-9 with it, only that one is daily. It is a prescribed vitamin, but it was only $2.79. I also renewed my rescue inhaler because I am trying to build up a supply and it allows me one a month. I don't need a bunch, but it would be nice to have 3 or 4 extra. With the way the smog was this summer I needed it a lot more than usual. That was $50.

On Friday I had my appointment with the Opthamologist, another $40 co-pay, and I had all kinds of tests done. The did several photos of the eye and then an extensive visual field test, then health checks for glaucoma, etc. And the baseline scan of the retinas to make sure the hydroxychloroquine was not turning my retinas yellow. It can in 20% of the population. So far there is no discoloration in mine.

The torn spot in the retina has healed very well. He said the scar tissue from the repair is nice and healthy and this will be my last follow up from the laser surgery and I didn't have to come back again for a year. I was there for two hours. I almost had an asthma attack while there, because when they dilate your eyes they move you to this dimly lit room instead of keeping you in the exam room and tying it up.

About 10 minutes after I went in, they brought another lady in. I'm not sure what she had on. It smelled like layers of fragrance, but not floral. Like she probably had used scented body wash, scented shampoo, scented lotion, aerosol hair-spray, and then perfume on top of it and they all clashed and none of them smelled good. It smelled more like chemical air fresheners.

She was so heavily made up that her skin looked the color of a peach, except her cheeks which were creme rouged in orange and her lipstick which was coral. Her hair dye matched her lipstick. It was like someone used all the bad Avon samples from the 70's or something. So her makeup products might have added to it. The heavy-handedness was not doing her any favors. It was caked in the creases.

I think she could have been a very beautiful older woman with different, more natural choices or even a naked face, but was so afraid of being old that she tried to hide it all with pancaking on the foundation, etc. Why are some people so afraid to just let their face be their face? Why can't women just allow themselves to age like men?

I started reacting as soon as she walked in, but I thought I was going to be okay, but after two minutes I had to get up and leave the room. I used my inhaler, which helped with the breathing, but also felt a headache starting behind my eye from the cacophony of fragrances, since I am so freaking sensitive to inhalants.

So I discretely flagged down someone and told them quietly that I was going out to the main waiting room, and could they let whoever needed to know where I was, because as judgey as I can be in my head or when I rant on here, I didn't want her to feel bad that she was making it hard for me to breathe. Although, maybe I should have, because wearing that much scent anywhere where you are going to be around people, like a waiting room, is wildly inconsiderate. Especially in an office that has signs saying it is a fragrance free zone.

At least the regular waiting room had circulating air. It was way too bright, but I thought it was better to breathe and stave off a possible migraine, so I sat there with my eyes closed until they called me back again. My breathing was really affected by the wildfires this summer. It has not fully recovered since and I am more sensitive than ever to things that trigger it.

On the bright side, my hips did not hurt from sitting in all of the uncomfortable chairs for two hours. Thank goodness, or I might not have been able to get anything done today.

My new glasses came in, so I went over to pick them up today and it is taking some getting used to. It's usually a rough 24 hour adjustment and then a continuing minor adjustment for the next 10 days or so when I get a new prescription before my eyes feel normal again.

After that I stopped at The Spice Hut and picked up 2 oz of vanilla powder and impulse bought 2 oz of pumpkin pie spice. I usually make my own, but they had a little jar of it you could smell, and it was so wonderful, I wanted some. I'll use it at Thanksgiving when I make my pumpkin cheesecake. I spent a total of $12.02. Vanilla powder is a little pricey, but so worth it and I needed some for a recipe I want to try next week.

I do have to get my son a new coat tomorrow. His shoulders are getting so broad. But after that and the two medical bills I need to pay, I shouldn't have to spend anymore money this week. The two bills are $61.15 and $16.97 respectively.

I did get another bill for $477.78 for the new c-pap machine (deductible should be met after this), but that will come out of next payday. It'll be a day late, but they don't charge interest unless it is 60 days over and that will put me at 31 days. I asked if this was okay and they said fine because I always pay my bills. I would have charged it if not and then just paid it off, but this way is much easier.

Maybe one day the medical bills will end. That would be a good day.

Pleased with Purchase

September 24th, 2017 at 04:59 pm

After a lot of looking, and I mean a lot, I finally found a new cross body purse. So many purses just have handles and I hate that, because most of the time I need to have both hands free and I am not the type of person who is comfortable just putting my purse in the front of a shopping cart. I like it on me where it is less likely to get snatched.

I was looking for something in the teal to blue family, similar to my broken one. I couldn't find anything online that I liked. Well, there were some concealed carry cross body bags that I did like, but they were a little ostentatious for my personal taste. I do not, at this time, conceal carry, so it didn't seem all that practical for me.

I looked through several stores at the mall when we were there for my son's job interview, like J.C. Penney, Kohl's, Torrid, H&M, and a few others but ended up going to Macy's and finding one there. I hate going into Macy's because of all the perfume and they are pretty overpriced for my budget. Not Nordstrom's level of overpriced, but still.

I found two purses that I really liked, but one was $200, real leather with turquoise, lots of tooling, but no. I won't pay $100 for a purse, let alone $200. The purse I ended up settling on was a purple and white floral one from Kipling. I don't generally go for patterns and it is a bit more feminine than I typically get, but I still liked it. They were having a purse sale and then it was marked down an additional 40% off. Then I got some additional kind of discount off the total purchase because I had a Plenti card (which is Rite Aid, so I don't know how that works). My total cost for an $80 purse with tax was $38.40. The original price was $89.

It was a little higher than I liked to go, I usually keep it under $30, but was the only thing I had shown any interest in at all. It had a slot big enough for my phone. I was shocked at how many purses are still being designed with slots that only fit flip phone sized phones. It also had a large enough center compartment to fit a paperback novel in. And it has zippers and not snaps, which are the first thing to break on a purse in my experience. Those were pretty much my only requirements, plus pretty.

There were a lot of ugly bags. What I like to call "old lady with no taste" bags. Some pretty awful colors. The spring colors were so nice this year, but apparently the fall colors are not going to be. Here's hoping I can get a couple years out of it before it falls apart. I used to be able to go five years before a purse would break. Now it is closer to two years. And those were not expensive bags at all.

I did take off the little gorilla key chain that came with it. I guess it is the Kipling mascot. I will give it to my great niece the next time I see her.

Odds and Ends

July 19th, 2017 at 03:25 am

I fell asleep at 1 a.m. and slept straight through until 10:30, got up long enough to make sure my son had taken care of the animals, drank a glass of water and went back to bed until 2:30. I slept hard. Apparently my body really needed it. I still feel tired, but hopefully I will sleep just as hard tonight and I'll get caught up on this sleep debt.

We weaned kits yesterday. Just Ella's and just the males. I was going to do Persephone's boys as well, but there is something wrong with the cage I was going to put them in, so I have to clean another cage before I can do that. I'll get it done tomorrow.

The garden is going crazy. I've never seen squash leaves this big before and the Brussels sprouts are huge. I am glad I gave them so much space. That is something that is hard for me, because they are so little when you plant them and you have to plant them based on how big they will be and not try to fill in all the space early on.

I spent $64 at Trader Joe's. I stocked up on chicken, lots of eggs (the birds are being slackers), rice, and picked up some Proscuitto.

For dinner tonight I made two new recipes. The first was a lazy version of chicken saltimbocca. I am not all for pounding the chicken out flat or browning or making a wine sauce. I just took the boneless skinless chicken thighs and seasoned them with salt and pepper, laid out a piece of prosciutto, put sage leaves down on it, put the chicken in the center and wrapped the prosciutto around it. The into the cast iron skillet for 30 minutes at 425 on the middle wrack of the oven. Came out perfect and everyone loved it.

Then I made a new version of Mexican rice. Almost everything in that recipe was from Thrive Life, so freeze dried. I used their chopped onions, chopped green chiles, and instant rice, then added fresh garlic, salt, and tomato paste. It was a big hit with my son and my daughter liked it well enough. I thought it was great and will make it again. I really love using the Thrive Life stuff. It is so nice not having to chop stuff up for recipes, just rehydrate however much you need and go to it.

I deposited the refund check from one of our medical bills. It was just $126.03. I haven't decided what I am going to do with it, yet. Probably put it aside for any incoming bills.

DD's appointment yesterday with the eye surgeon made him decide to send her to a neurologist. So we are waiting on a referral for that. The appointment was a $40 co-pay. He also gave her a new medication to try since Topiramate wasn't working for her migraines. I don't remember the cost on that as I bought it was a bunch of other things at the drug store that came to a total of $ 91.53.

I am trying not to be spendy, but sometimes you just have to buy things.

Bits and Pieces--Farm, Garden, Medical, Work

July 7th, 2017 at 03:05 am

It has been hot here the last few days. In the 80's, which is hot for here. Fortunately not humid, though. It's made the garden go nuts with some of the plants, mostly the squashes, having bigger leaves than I've ever seen in all my years of gardening. Another week and I should have zucchini, patty pan, and gold rush squash big enough to eat.

As it is, I harvested 7 kohlrabi, enough lettuce for a week, a huge bunch of kale, a dozen carrots, 4 heads of broccoli, blood-veined sorrel, calendula, yarrow, strawberries, and raspberries. And the blueberries have started. Just a few here and there, but I wasn't expecting any until the end of July, really. So I have to incorporate all of that into the meal plan this week. Well, not the calendula and yarrow, those will be dried for tea.

I've still got a lot to do out there. I need to pick peas and harvest a Chinese cabbage and two types of parsley and pick those ripe blueberries.

We'll be butchering tomorrow and then washing cages afterwards and then washing more cages on Saturday. I also need to dust out the windows in their enclosure and go through and clean fur out of all their fans. Everyone is blowing their coats right now, so the fur is flying. I've got 8 week olds that need to be weaned as soon as we have the empty cages to do so. I have not bred anyone again as their are 5 (but we are keeping the one broken red girl) grow outs and 14 younger kits right behind them, so 18 out of 19 destined for freezer camp.

Medically we spent $90 for my physical therapy and a $30 co-pay for my daughter's first session with a psychiatrist. She's been seeing a therapist for a while now to deal with her PTSD, anxiety, depression, and eating disorder. Psychiatrist is weaning her off her current meds and starting her on a new one once she is. She also has recommended she see a nutritional psychotherapist.

She had a bad side effect to one of the medications she was recently put on and no one could figure out what was going on, then I looked up the side effects of the drug and listed under uncommon side effects were all the symptoms of what had happened laid out all in a row, so she had to stop that one and we aren't putting her back on one like it. She's just going to go without for a while.

My shoulder is burning all the time right now. It is from all the physical therapy exercises I have to help Mom with. DH has taken over the morning session, but I still do them with her twice a day and he's leaving on Sunday anyway. Her recovery is going well, though she does try to push things as far as she can, and I try to get her to do only what she is supposed to do. She's hard-headed. I really see where my son gets it from. Less than 2 weeks to go now and hopefully she will get out of the sling. They say 6 to 8 weeks and of course she is fixated on 6 weeks.

I will be glad when all this is done and she doesn't need my help anymore, but that could be another 6 weeks or so. It's really run my health into the ground and it wasn't like it was that far from the ground to begin with. The new med the rheumatologist gave me for my auto-immune disease is helping in most of my joints, but not my shoulder and not my hip. At least not yet. I haven't noticed any side-effects on my eyes with it, but it is cumulative and these are early days.

We still don't know about DH's work beyond December. The other project and company is way behind schedule. I'd like things to be settled. Living with uncertainty again is really difficult. The stress is making me a little nuts on top of everything else that is going on. I really just want to go back to the days when I didn't have to worry about anything other than paying the bills and getting out of debt. At least I don't have to worry about debt on top of everything else right now, though. I hold on to that.

Sick and Exhausted

June 29th, 2017 at 10:31 am

I've come down with a stomach virus of some sort and it is really dragging my energy levels on the ground. DH has been back since Friday, so I am not taking care of Mom all by myself anymore, but there are some things I do have to do, even with a fever of 100 and the inability to keep my food down. Like help her shower, which is quite an ordeal, and help her change her clothes. Fortunately she is doing a lot better three weeks post surgery.

I got my daughter's ER visit bill yesterday. It is $2333.48. Ouch. That is really going to be a hit. I'll have to take money out of the Emergency Fund for that. DH will be working 4 extra days at the end of his next hitch, so all of that money will go to replace some of what I take out of savings. I am not sure it will replace all of it.

I saw the rheumatologist on Monday with a $50 co-pay. She is putting me on a medication that is supposed to help, but might not show any improvement for a couple of months. It can do damage to the retinas, though, in 30% of people. With my medical luck, I will be in that 30%.

I saw the eye doctor on Tuesday with a $50 co-pay. He said the retina has healed nicely and I will go back in 3 months and then he will take a baseline map reading of the retinas so that we can monitor whether the new medication is affecting my retinas. If he sees even the hint of damage I will stop the medicine. I can't have my eyes getting worse. I'd rather deal with the pain in my joints than my vision getting further damaged.

I just want to get past all this stuff and get back to feeling normal (for me, anyway). I have 3 weeks before Mom gets out of the sling and then starts full on physical therapy. The stuff we are doing now is pretty light as she is not allowed to move her shoulder away from her body. It takes about 10 minutes 3 times per day and DH has taken over the morning shift.

I went to Trader Joe's today to stock up on a few things and spent $128.97. I also went to my own physical therapy which cost $90. I probably shouldn't have done either thing with being so sick, but we really needed to pick up some food and the massage part of PT was sorely needed.

Adjusting

May 28th, 2017 at 01:49 pm

Well, I think I am finally starting to adjust to having this blob in the vision in my right eye. I've had to make some changes. I have to have the print on the computer screen set to 150% on most websites, and 175 on the ones that use teeny tiny font sizes to not have a blind spot when I'm reading.

If I want to read books, large print editions are the only ones that don't cause headaches. Normal print I can do for about twenty minutes, but I have to keep refocusing, and I end up with a headache. Forget 10 point font at all. It's almost an instant headache and a blind spot. Fortunately the library has a huge number of large print books and most Debbie Macomber novels have a large print copy and those that don't have an audio book available. Since I am working my way through her books right now, that works for me.

As for typing, if I increase the font and tilt my head and look through the lower part of my eye, I can almost make it disappear.

With distance vision, it is almost like it isn't there, so the only part of driving that is an issue is if I look at the GPS screen or at the speedometer. The head tilt works for that and I am using cruise control a lot more when I can.

I think it is still breaking up, but it is doing it slowly. I am taking a supplement that is supposed to help with the floaters. We'll see. I've only been on it 3 days. I am hoping by the time I see the doctor again at the end of the month that it will have gotten smaller, or even better, gone away, but I know it may not.

My daughter had her baby tooth pulled this week and they didn't give her anything for the pain. When she had her wisdom teeth out, they gave her hydrocodone. This is just as bad, but told her to just take Ibuprofen. Doctors and dentists have gotten downright stingy with painkillers in the last couple of years. They are so worried about people getting addicted that they don't want to give it out for actual bad pain.

Fortunately, she had some medication left from when she cracked her skull a couple years ago and was on it for 8 weeks so I gave her some of it and it helped her a lot.

It ended up costing $253. They had estimated $246, so not far off the mark. She needed an extra shot of novacaine, so I'm sure that was why the difference.

DH also had to go to a different chiropractor because ours is on vacation, so that was a $30 co-pay. He pinched a nerve or something in his back, so also got a massage the day before that for $60. That is not covered at all with our insurance. Fortunately he is doing much better. He will see that chiropractor again before he goes back to work on Wednesday.

Ours won't be back until the 6th and DH leaves on the 31st. My neck is out pretty bad, but I don't want to spend the money to see a different chiropractor. I may have to, though. I'm not sure I can go another ten days, especially since my physical therapist has flaked out on me again. I'm pretty sure I'll be barely walking by the time he gets back.

I'm really starting to resent the frequent vacations my chiropractor goes on. It seems like he's taking off every six weeks or so. Usually it is only for one week, but this time it is for two. He only works 4 half days a week as it is, so available hours are limited even when he is here. If he didn't have such a good family plan we would have left a long time ago.

I need to find a new physical therapist as mine is moving away in October. That's going to be a major pain. I know there are lots of them in this city, but I hate trying out new people. You may have noticed I'm not a real big fan of change. But I'll have to do it, because the sessions are one of the things that keep me walking and when I miss a week, I really feel it.

I am thinking of buying an ultrasound machine like they use in physical therapy, not like they use to see inside your body. My old doctor used to do those treatments on my knees when they would swell really bad and they worked wonders. A decent machine is around $200. Now that I am having both my ankles and knees swelling so frequently, it might be worthwhile to make the investment. They've got some with good reviews on Amazon. It'd be worth it if it improves my walking ability or even just decreases swelling and pain.

Picked Up Our Beef--Breakdown on Cuts

May 25th, 2017 at 03:41 am

So our half a beef was ready and hanging weight came to 335 pounds. She had estimated hanging weight would be 300 with it's full hanging weight being 600, but it was bigger. It cost $1005 for the half and $250.64 for the cut and wrap fee, a total of $1255.64. So that works out to $3.75 per pound for a grass fed beef, which is pretty spectacular, considering grass fed hamburger alone is $8 a pound here. While she is not certified organic, they do not spray their hay fields and they still use organic practices.

She uses a different butcher than the one who lost our half a hog last year and then turned our plain ground pork into sausage when we specifically asked for it to not be sausage, but plain. I was glad she used someone else. I really don't want to deal with the other company again. 2 out of 3 times they've screwed up, so I have no faith in them, but unfortunately most farmers use them. I'll probably go with this lady again, though, since she uses the other place.

Here's what it breaks down to with all steaks in packages of 2 and cut 3/4 inch thick, the roasts around 2 pounds each except for the rump roasts which are 3, and the brisket which is 4 or 5:

Ground Beef: 54 l 1/2 pound packages
Heart: 1
Liver: 5 packages
Flank Steak: 1
Short Ribs: 5
Porterhouse: 2
Eye of Round: 2
Top Round Steak: 6
Sirloin: 6
Bottom Round Roasts: 3
Sirloin Tip Roasts: 4
Chuck Roasts: 6
Pot Roasts: 3
Rump Roasts: 2
Soup Bones: 4
Tri Tip: 1
T-bone Steak: 5
Brisket: 1
Tenderloin: 2
Rib Eye Steaks: 7

So it should last us quite some time, though not a year. Maybe half a year to 3/4 of a year. I reckon everything but the hamburger will be gone at the 1/2 year and the hamburger will last longer. I won't be afraid to get a full beef next time if I decide I want one. I was worried about space, but it only filled 3 1/3 compartments in my giant chest freezer. That will help me plan for a future order based on space.

I have to learn how to cook certain cuts that I've never made before as well as the heart and liver. I didn't get the tongue, because I didn't think I could handle that. If we like the heart and the liver, that's good, and if we don't, we will cut it up into little pieces and dole it out as treats to the birds, because despite what many people think, chickens, ducks, and turkeys are not vegetarians and in fact, being fed an all-vegetarian diet is not good for them.

It is easy enough to supplement them if they don't free range and get their own bugs and worms with packaged meal worms or whatever bits of meat you might have that they can eat, either raw or cooked. They don't need a lot, but they do need some. Even extra eggs if your layers are prolific, scrambled or hard boiled and diced, works, even if it feels slightly cannibalistic.

So the liver and heart will get used even if not by us. Actually, I'll see if the in-laws want some, too, if we don't like it. There's a lot and I know they eat one of them. Humans first, then animals.

A Long but Good Day

May 21st, 2017 at 07:27 am

I got to see sister #2 today for the first time since last summer. Sister #1 was there as well, but I see her a couple times a week, usually. It was a graduation party for S2's youngest child and all four of her children were there including her eldest who lives in Arizona and his new wife. S1's daughter was hosting it.

S1 and I always tend to gravitate to each other at these things and of course, when S2 saw that, she had to come over and talk to us, too. She's always been that way, can't be left out of a conversation her sisters are having. It was good catching up. I think S2 has changed a lot in the last couple of years. It is good to see that she isn't as lost as she used to be.

S2 is finally on the internet and has an email address, so it'll be a lot easier for me to stay in touch with her now. I was able to get a picture of the 3 of us together and the 3 of us with Mom. We haven't had a picture of us girls together since I was 19. I am going to print a copy of the one of us with Mom for Mom to have.

After that we went to my great niece's first birthday party. We missed the first part of it, but made it for an hour of it. It was a pretty exhausting day for me, but worth it to spend so much time with family. It helped lift my spirits a bit.

I'm still depressed about my eye, but at least I didn't have to think about it for a while today. I didn't eat anything at either party, it was all cake and chips and soda. On the way home we picked up Taco Time, though and spent about $40. I had a taco salad with no dressing and added some berries on the side when I got home. Taco salads are my favorite thing from there other than tacos, but I'm trying to limit corn and wheat right now.

Tomorrow I will get back into the swing of cooking again. I need to make up a meal plan and probably buy some more veggies.

Doing Much Better and Errands

May 13th, 2017 at 05:15 am

I am doing much better today than I was on the tenth. That night I was able to sleep and got 8 hours and then last night I got 10 hours. The water pills (diuretics) have been doing their job and while my legs, ankles, and feet are still swollen, it isn't nearly so bad. I'm able to wear my regular shoes again, my socks don't feel like tourniquets, and I was able to put my ring back on my finger since my hands are back to normal. It was pretty scary there for a while.

I lost 15 pounds in the last two days, but it is all water weight that I gained very quickly. I'm back to what my weight was before this happened. I must have been exposed to or eaten something that caused massive inflammation and water retention, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it was because I did nothing out of the ordinary.

After two nights of good sleep, the discoloration under my eyes is almost gone and the discoloration on my eyelids is gone. I looked like I had a couple two day old shiners there for a while when I wasn't sleeping. Lack of sleep like that is kind of crazy-making. I wonder if lack of sleep contributed to the water retention or had the increasing water retention contributed to the lack of sleep? That's probably a chicken and the egg scenario.

DH got home last night at midnight and it is good to have him back. I was capable of doing a Costco run today so we went and spent a little over $250. Half of that was on household supplies and the rest on food.

We also went and closed out our account at Credit Union #3. That will streamline our banking. This was originally DH's childhood account that had his allowance direct deposited out of his dad's paycheck each week when he was a kid. We've barely used it at all in the last few years and haven't used it at all in the past 15 months and got a note that said if it was inactive for 3 more months they'd close. It seemed silly to keep it open, especially because when a bank or CU closes your account they send the money to a government holding account and not to you and that is a major hassle I didn't want to go through. I've been wanting to close it for a while anyway.

Now we just have CU #1 where we do our primary banking with a checking account and savings account and CU #2 where I keep short-term funds that I don't need right away, since it is out of the way to go there and they only have one location. I have to actually deliberately plan to go there to easily use that money or transfer it electronically to my online bank account and then from there to CU #1. I set it up to be difficult for me to dip into that money without serious intention.

We also have the C1-360 online savings account for the Emergency Fund. Again, it is without super easy access, though in a true emergency it would not take too long to transfer money from it. And I keep a $1000 baby EF at CU #1 for an immediate emergency situation, like an unexpected car repair or a five day power failure where we have to eat out or something.

While I am pretty disciplined these days, when I set things up, I wasn't. I think I could probably have all the money in one place now, but I'd rather avoid temptation. Does anyone else do this sort of thing or am I just uniquely weird with my banking?

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.

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.

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.

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.

A Few Quick Errands

February 23rd, 2017 at 04:49 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sick, Sicker, Sickest

February 17th, 2017 at 09:17 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Small Kitchen Purchases

February 3rd, 2017 at 12:40 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Struggling with Spending

January 18th, 2017 at 02:40 am

Yesterday we bought a new mattress. It was a hard decision to make to go ahead and buy it. I'd been wanting to wait until DH was employed again, because the less savings we use the less we'll have to make up for later. The pain in my back and hips was bad enough though, that I finally decided we had to do it. We were able to take it home last night and it has made a world of difference already.

I can't believe how expensive mattresses are now. We got a good deal for ours in the MLK day sale and they are getting rid of the 2016 model, so it was less because of that, too. For our King-size Beautyrest mattress, we paid $1032.60, including tax. For the same mattress for the 2017 model it would have cost $500 more. This isn't even with boxsprings.

Boxsprings would have increased the price another $500. I won't buy boxsprings anymore, though, because they are worthless. They are built with 1" x 1" or 2" x 2" wood and they fall apart within 6 months. We have a platform we built for the mattress several years ago and it is strong and sturdy and supportive.

Most of the mattresses in there were over $2000. I saw Tempurpedic mattresses that were $4500. But the price on iComforts and the Beautyrests tended to be $2000 to $2500. That is ridiculous to me, even for King-size ones. I am glad we found something in our price range was $1000 to $1500. And that it is comfortable.

In talking to the sales person, the mattress companies seem to have discontinued the flippable mattresses. He said most people were too lazy to flip and rotate properly so they did away with it. I think it has more to do with planned obsolesence though. The old-style mattresses could last for 15 to 20 years with proper care. These ones last 5 to 7 years, 10 if you are lucky.

We brought the new mattress home ourselves and we took our old one to the dump. They charge a mattress removal fee if you have them do it and it is higher than what the dump charges. It wasn't even good enough to be set at the end of the driveway with a free sign. That's what we usually do with old mattresses and they are gone the same day. But not this time. It wasn't until we had it up on its side and were taking it out that we realized how caved in it was. There was no support on either side. The only part still good was the middle section.

This one is really thick compared to our old one. We went back to coils. The iComfort we had did not have coils and I think that turned out to be a problem after a couple of years, but we had it much longer than that. This one is pretty firm and I may have to put a small mattress paid on top still, I haven't decided, but it is definitely working for my back.

I just wish I had been able to put it off longer, because I don't like making such a huge purchase out of savings. It was such an emotional struggle. Even for something that was clearly badly needed. It is just hard to keep seeing savings go down every month. I am trying to keep the faith that it will soon be over, though. I am just worried about what might happen to the oil industry this weekend if everything goes catawumpus and for some reason power is not relinquished properly to the other side. I want it all to be over-blown nonsense, but I'm at the point where its 50/50 in my head. Too darn much is going on.

Unemployment and Emergency Fund Usage to Date

December 4th, 2016 at 04:18 am

DH has been unemployed for 15 weeks. So far I have withdrawn $14,000 from our Emergency Fund to live on. Of that $3597 has gone to pay for insurance premiums, $2970 went to pay for out of pocket medical costs the month we had no insurance, and the stuff insurance does not cover, $1100 went to cover 2 eye exams and 2 pairs of glasses, and $560 went to pay for dental. So $8227 of the $14,000 withdrawn so far has been for medical related expenses.

Of the remaining $5773, $1325 has gone to pay for utilities. $681 has gone to pay for storage. $292.92 has gone to pay for life insurance, $327 for our family gym membership, $91.23 for Netflix, $26.07 for hulu, $350.70 for our cell phones (4 phone basic plan), $242.46 for internet, $200 on feed and bedding for the turkeys, ducks, and chickens (the rabbits are self-supporting), $100 on toiletries, and the rest on groceries, which is about $700 a month or $2100.

Medical costs will remain high. There is no way around that, but we certainly won't have to worry about glasses again for a year or more and dental will be spaced out so we don't get a big hit all at once and will just be cleanings for the four of us.

So there is $6000 left in the Emergency Fund and then I'll have to start dipping into the $45,000 down payment fund. DH has had two phone interviews with one company (not an oil company) and is scheduled for an in person interview with them on the 14th. If he gets it, it won't pay very well, we'll still have to use savings, but it will help until he can get back on elsewhere. And it will be very valuable experience in the aeronautics industry.

The oil companies seem to be holding off on hiring until after the Electoral College confirms Trump as president. One or two have said they are waiting until after the swearing in ceremony, just to be sure. I don't think at this point the election results will be overturned, but the industry is very jumpy still. Hopefully they will be hiring by the time unemployment runs out. Unemployment has all gone to medical, not that it is very much to begin with.

We're getting by. It's hard to see our savings dwindle, but this is precisely what I worked so hard to save this money for. On the bright side it appears as if DH is going to get some sort of company bonus for the portion of the year he did work since they sent him the paperwork asking if he wanted to deposit it to the 401K or just be sent it as a check. No idea how much it will be. It's been running around $3800 for the last several years. With only 8 months instead of 12 months qualifying, it'll probably be 75% of that. Or less.

Whatever week we receive it, we won't get unemployment for that week as it will count as income, obviously. So that will stretch the unemployment out another week. If he does get 75% of the usual, that'll be $2850 which will stretch out our Emergency Fund a little while longer. Then we'll have our tax refund in the February since we always file immediately. We might be able to stretch through February without touching the down payment fund if the timing is right and DH doesn't get hired before then. One can hope.

Went to Whole Foods for the First Time

July 9th, 2016 at 09:11 pm

We had a Whole Foods store open in our town this summer. Overall, I have to say I wasn't terribly impressed with much, more of a so-so experience. We went there to get a protein powder for DD recommended by the weight loss doctor that doesn't have whey (since DD is allergic to milk) and doesn't have almond meal (since DD is allergic to almonds {but not other nuts, weird}) and doesn't have gluten (issues if she has too much of it, but not an allergy per se).

It also couldn't have any artificial sweeteners in it, because she gets hives and headaches and tunnel vision and stomach cramps and also went to the hospital once because she had trouble breathing after ingesting aspartame. We found a couple of different ones to try and they had small packets you could buy before you invested in the gallon size container.

The cheese selection was good. I actually found some sheep's cheese and more than one variety. Found several types of goat cheese, too, and 2 year old cheddar, extra sharp. And 2 year old goat's gouda not smoked. I hate it when they smoke gouda. I got a couple of cheeses I had never heard of to try, since they had small slivers of them that weren't too expensive. If I like them I will write down their names and get bigger wedges when I go back.

And they did have a great selection of rices, lentils, and beans, both organic and non for reasonable prices. In fact they have a red and white lima bean with Christmas in the title, where I might just get some and plant them next year (since all dried beans will grow if they are whole and not split). Why grow ordinary green limas when you can grow prettier ones? Since limas and Anasazi are the only types of beans I'll eat, I'm happy to see that had both.

Their organic meat and fish prices were more expensive than Trader Joe's, the Food Co-op, Fred Meyer, Safeway, or Haggen, except with chicken, which was comparable. What they did have, which the other stores do not, was no sugar bacon in pork, turkey, and buffalo. Actually they had a lot of cuts of buffalo. Most times when I see it elsewhere it is just ground buffalo, not steaks or roasts.

They did have a larger variety of seafood though than at other stores, some fish I have never even seen around here in a store before outside of direct off the boats down at the docks.

I spent $105, but it was mostly on cheese that should last a month, chicken thighs (we are out of our home grown and butchered chicken except for stir-fry meat, wings, backs, and necks), and the protein powder, plus a shaker drink container to mix it all up in. But a lot of cheeses.

With being on a higher protein/fat lower carb diet where they expect several meals and snacks a day, cheese and some cucumber slices fits the bill for me for those snacks. It's a little over the $100 a week I am trying to cut back to, but since I'm cutting back from around $200 a week, I think I did okay. Won't be going in this store often.

And speaking of the diet, the scale is moving again, after 3 weeks of dinking around. Not enough yet for me to feel comfortable starting another dietbet, though.

Unexpected Purchase

June 27th, 2016 at 09:46 pm

We had an unexpected purchase today. We spent $99 plus tax of $8.61 on a new weed trimmer. The old one "let the smoke out" as my husband likes to say. Which means the engine burned up. I have been wanting the one with the rechargeable battery because dealing with the one with the extension cord is a pain in the butt and gas ones are too heavy for me to operate.

I took the money out of the reimbursement check FIL gave us this weekend. Since we had already paid off the credit card from when DH had used it to cover stuff for FIL in Seattle a couple of months ago when there was a screw up with his short-term disability checks, that money was not yet earmarked for anything.

I haven't funded the Appliance/Household Fund in a while. It is probably something that should be done again once we are sure of the job situation. Usually I have anywhere between $250 and $1000 in there depending on what I think we might be needing next (a microwave or blender versus a refrigerator, lawn mower, or couch).

It hasn't been a priority. But it should be on the agenda, since when we do move, we will likely need to buy a washer and dryer. Most houses don't come with them anymore, unless you are buying brand new houses with an appliance package.

Right now, as long as we continue to have an income, I really just want to focus on the down payment fund and the moving fund, though. I don't want to take away from those. But I might put a small amount in. Maybe a couple hundred, just so we don't get caught with our pants down.

Bought a Keurig 2.0

May 2nd, 2016 at 07:09 pm

I've never owned a coffee maker in my life. DH rarely drinks coffee, but the kids (19 and 16) do, and they were spending their money on Starbucks. I did not want to see that when they can make a decent coffee at home. Of course we got the refillable pods, not the individual little cups.

Since they would only make one cup of coffee in a given day it seemed like a good option, but it can also make a pot (if you buy their carafe), so if we have company once we move, we can make coffee. I might use it for making herbal tea infusions or hot chocolate.

I have to see the fact that we could get it in a color that matched my Kitchenaid and toaster was an added benefit. It was on sale for $119.99 so with tax it came to $130.43. I'd saved up and was waiting for a sale. We could have got a cheaper coffeemaker, yes, but weighing everything else, I think this one is best for our needs. Plus teal/turquoise. Sometimes pretty wins the day.

Farm Sales to the EF

April 23rd, 2016 at 04:21 am

We had some sales so I was able to add even more to the Emergency Fund today.

$19,591.92 Starting Balance
+__,_88.00 Farm sales and Coin Jar
------------------
$19,679.92 New Balance

$320.08 to go to hit $20K. So, so close.

A New Addition to the Homestead

April 13th, 2016 at 02:23 am

I bought a new breeding buck rabbit today. He cost $30. I am selling some old hutches this week at $30 each, so one of the hutches will pay for the little boy. He is a purebred New Zealand broken black. He is only 12 weeks old, so we have 3 months before he can start doing his duty. My son named him Zander.

I am trying to add a photo. Hopefully this will work.

Payday Report and Need to do Something about the Storage Units

April 9th, 2016 at 05:58 pm

I really need to start doing the payday reports again. It keeps me super focused and on top of my spending, which I really need to be. We have had a lot of medical expenses already this month. Some of it we will get reimbursed for when everything is straightened out with our insurance company, but that could still take a month or two to shake out.

$400.00 Utilities
$150.00 Emergency Fund
$_80.82 Internet
$_47.86 Life Insurance DH
$_45.30 Life Insurance Me
$150.00 Laptop
$227.00 Storage (went up again, ouch)
$250.00 Chiropractic Monthly Family Plan
$140.52 Sleep Doctor
$_86.01 ENT Doctor
$369.00 Dentist (getting a partial reimbursement)
$_50.00 Allowances
$100.00 Garden/Household
-------------------------
$2096.51 Total

I have $167 and some change left in the checking account. $90 of that is allocated to physical therapy, but she's cancelled on my 2 weeks running, so that money may get dumped into the EF if I don't hear from her by next Friday.

DH and I are going to start going through our big storage unit when he comes home next time and seeing what we can get rid of/sell/donate. We really need to get down to having just one storage unit. The second one is $120 and it doesn't have too much in it, but the first one is jam packed. If we can free up about 8 square feet we can get everything into one unit and clear up the additional expense.

I know some of it is just stuff we didn't want to deal with when we moved, like boxes of papers, bags of outgrown clothes, little kid toys, and multiple outdated electronics. I know there are at least 3 VCR's and while keeping one to play all the old VHS tapes is fine, we certainly don't need 3. We used to have one for our bedroom, one for the living room, and one for the kid's playroom.

We could probably even sell one bundled with a bunch of old Blue's Clues, Dora the Explorer, Bear in the Big Blue House, and kiddie movie VHS tapes at a garage sale. I mean who really buys VHS tapes anymore, not many folks still have VCR's, but might with a big enough stash of tapes and a player with a working remote. Obviously not for a huge amount of money, but maybe $10 to $15.

And I know we have all the fairy Barbies and their forest, too. Which could go for another small lump sum. Complete Fisher Price Little people set-ups, both original and modern are kicking around. And a huge toddler train layout from Little Lionel, which would go for a bit more. Just a lot of stuff like that. Not that we'd make a fortune or anything at all, but we might be able to get a decent garage sale together for June.

I know that when the time comes to move, I don't want to be hauling a ton of useless stuff to our new home. And I certainly don't want to deal with boxes of old junk mail and statements then, either. Our car has an outlet in it, so we can even shred things right there, pack them into paper sacks, and take them to be recycled, without ever bringing them home.

It'll take a lot of work, but he is going to have 3 weeks off in a row and this is probably the best time to do it, before gardening season gets into full swing.

I've Gotten a Lot Done

April 7th, 2016 at 12:39 am

It has been a very busy week for me here. I have canned 15 pints of rabbit meat, 7 quarts and 4 half pints of rabbit bone broth, 9 pints of leek and potato soup, made two trays of rabbit jerky, dehydrated 3 trays of Thai basil from my Aerogarden and 3 trays of leeks, and am currently steeping dandelion petals for at least 12 hours so I can make and can dandelion jelly tomorrow.

I made the leek and potato soup from scratch in the crockpot, using some leeks that had overwintered in the garden. I had to pull them all up so I could add about a foot of compost and new soil to the bed, so I had to do something with them. I used 3 quarts of canned Yukon gold potatoes in the process. The first quart was pureed with the leeks and then the other 2 quarts were added about an hour from the end so it would have hearty chunks of potatoes as well, so no expense really. We had it for dinner before canning the rest.

As for the jelly, we have the sugar, pectin, and lemon juice in our food storage and the dandelions were free from our no spray yard. The amount of jelly I make here will last for the year and while I will make some strawberry jelly as well in late May or early June just because it is our favorite, I wouldn't actually need to.

I will make some buttermilk biscuits tomorrow and we will have them with the fresh jelly that is left over. It never comes out completely even, there's always about a quarter of a pint left it seems, and there is nothing like jelly made in the morning slathered on hot from the oven biscuits at dinner time.

The eat from the pantry challenge is going well. So far the only purchase I have made this week at the grocery store was for fresh fruit (watermelon, blueberries, and a cantaloupe) and a gallon of milk. I did also pick up some cleaning supplies and Puffs tissues. DD has the flu (the actual flu) and the rest of us have allergies and went through my stockpile pretty hard and fast. I ended up spending $45.47.

I will spend a little bit more on payday. I am going to try my hand at making homemade laundry detergent. I have always held off on making it as I can never find Washing Soda. Well, I found out how you can make regular baking soda into Washing Soda by baking it in the oven at a certain temperature. So all I need to buy is Borax and either Fels Naptha or Zote soap, which Walmart carries. Don't really like going all the way over there, but it'll be worth the trip for the savings on the soap.

And I am going to buy some plant starts for the garden. I did not get my seeds going soon enough so have decided that I will get a few starts. Not a lot though, just some kale and maybe shallots, green onions, and red and yellow keeping onions. Several things I can direct seed into the garden in about 2 more weeks so there is no need to start them inside.

I did get my tomatoes and peppers started today. They are on a plant heat mat on my seed growing stand. We can't plant those until the end of May or beginning of June regardless, so they'll be fine. I started those at the end of March last year and they were ready in time. I'm not worried about it. I had excellent germination using a regular heating pad last year, so I think it'll be just as good with a heat mat actually made to sprout heat loving plants.

Tomorrow I will plant some seeds in the garden. I will put in parsnips, 3 types of carrots, radishes, and snap and snow peas. All of those things can be planted at this time of year. We think we've finally blocked out all the escape routes for the chickens, so the garden should be safe to plant in now. I do need to purchase a new hose nozzle so I can mist the carrots, parsnips, and radishes until they sprout. They can't take full on watering until they've developed a root system.

I have a feeling this will be another excellent gardening and homesteading year.

Man, I'm Sore

April 3rd, 2016 at 06:49 am

I think I broke myself today. I moved 2 cubic yards of garden soil by myself. It took me 4 hours to do it, and I took a little break between every load because I did not want to stress my body out too much. And now my shoulder and my neck hate me. But all in all, I am actually doing better than I thought I would be. And I know I will sleep hard tonight.

I am mad at the chickens. They keep escaping and they dug up and broke my newly planted kale. I only planted it two days ago. It wouldn't be so bad if they had just dug it up, but they broke off all the leaves in the process. I'm going to have to figure something out to protect the beds if the little monsters are going to keep being such escape artists.

I transplanted about 24 strawberry plants into my gutter garden and then dug up and separated the rest of them, replanting a little over half and potting the rest up to hopefully sell for $10 bucks for a flat of 24. I have one flat of Junebearing and one flat of Everbearing.

My eat from the pantry challenge is going well, but it has only been two days. Dinner last night was spice-rubbed rabbit, fried red potatoes with onions and bell peppers, salad, strawberries, and mixed veggies. Tonight it was spaghetti with Italian sausage, green beans, strawberries, and pull apart garlic herb bread since I had leftover pizza dough from earlier in the week.

I did have to spend some money today. I spent $40.47 buying Claritin D for my son and generic Prilosec for my daughter. Man, Claritin D is expensive. I miss having allergy medicine being paid for by insurance. It used to be $15 for a 30 day supply. Now it is $22 plus tax for a 15 day supply. Prescriptions aren't taxable. OTC meds are. We tried DS on generic, but it didn't work for him. The generic is a lot cheaper, but that doesn't matter if he can't breathe.

I need to start making ice. I am usually lazy and just buy bags of ice, but with the challenge that is not an option. I have lots of ice cube trays so it isn't like I can't do it, just that it is kind of a pain. But the whole goal of the challenge is to stop spending money on convenience items, which honestly eat up a lot of the grocery budget. I just need to remember to actually do it.

We lost another rabbit. Our red buck. After having to put two down a couple of weeks ago, this just was devastating. I didn't know he was that sick or we would have put him down with the other two. He only had one symptom and he seemed to be responding to treatment.

We only have 3 other rabbits that got sick. Coccidia is super contagious, but they are away from the pregnant rabbits, thankfully. One is completely free of symptoms and the other two are getting another round of Corid. Both are eating well and one is gaining back the weight she lost, but has diarrhea. I will have to pick dandelion leaves for her tomorrow and give her blackberry canes as well. Those help with it.

I won't put those rabbits back into the breeding program until they have been free of symptoms for 8 weeks. Even with Persephone, who is better, trying to get her back in too soon may put stress on her that is enough to cause it to reoccur.

So now we don't have any red bucks and no way of breeding more. I'm not ready to bring any new rabbits in, not with the outbreak. Leo is still not well enough to breed does, so Starbuck is the only one on duty right now. We have 4 red does (2 of which are Wildfire's daughters so I still have the line, thankfully) and 2 white ones that are healthy. 2 of the red does are due to kindle this week. We do have a lovely little white buck growing up, but I really don't want another white buck. I want a red one or a broken one or a black one.

Tomorrow I am going to do nothing but the basics. Feed and water the animals. Feed and water the children. Be lazy. I think I got enough done today for the whole weekend. I was going to plant radishes, carrots, and peas, but not until I can keep those rotten chicken escape artists from getting out again.

Safely Through Surgery

February 26th, 2016 at 02:37 pm

My son made it safely through his sinus surgery yesterday morning and has been miserable ever since. His sister volunteered to stay up with him all night to keep him company and keep his pain pills going into him at the proper time, since I didn't really sleep the night before. The packing comes out this morning at 9:30 and then he should be able to come home and get some sleep. And breathe.

We had to pay $1300 up front before the surgery which I did last week. I am not sure where we will be with medical bills afterwards. I know that he is pretty close to meeting his personal deductible now if he hasn't already. Personal deductible is $3000. At least the PD also counts towards the family deductible.

I wish medical care wasn't so ridiculous in this country. It didn't used to be.

$1.14 per Gallon for Gas and Why That Scares Me

February 8th, 2016 at 10:05 pm

I had nearly an empty tank of gas and I had 3 points on my Safeway card, so I went to their gas station and filled up. Usually I have 5 points when I fill up, but I have been spending less on groceries the last month.

It was $1.439 cash price before my points and $1.139 after my points were taken off. I got over 16 gallons and spent only $23.47.

Such low prices are kind of scary for me as it could affect my husband's job. We were okay the last time prices tanked down to 99 cents, but that wasn't at contract renewal time. This is. I don't like it. It makes me worry. I know we would be okay for 18 months if he lost his job, but we'd have to start over again and saving money and we'd be stuck here for a long time.

There is a house I found recently that is $260,000 on 5 acres one county over that might be the one. And it is stick built not manufactured even. We would have enough to make the 20% down payment after our income tax return if I borrowed half of the Emergency Fund. But it is not even something we can dare to do right now. Found another one as well, that might do us well in our own county for $309,000. But again, we can't take the risk until we know. I hate not knowing.

Farm Expenses

February 7th, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Today I spent $135.75 for a dozen flip top water bottles for the rabbits. I bought 3 last week and they are so much easier to clean and fill than the old ones. I don't have to take them off the cages to fill them, I just pop them open and pour the water in.

I can stick my hand all the way in to the bottom to scrub them out, so won't have to have a bunch of wonky shaped bottle brushes that still can't get to every spot. Hygiene is so important with rabbits, or any farm animals, really. Illness can be pretty much nipped in the bud if you can clean frequently.

Plus the top comes off, so if it freezes I can just take it off, dump out the ice, thaw the nozzle in a bucket of hot water for a few minutes, and have it right back on the cage again. That is much easier than having to take all of the bottles in to thaw for the day while switching them out with other bottles.

This will only cover 15 out of my 18 rabbit cages, (only 17 are occupied), but the farm store will get a few more in soon and with them I don't have to pay shipping. I do have to pay tax, but it works out to $1 less per bottle if I buy it there.

They just won't be getting the mass quantities in that I need. And they didn't want to order 2 cases when I'd only have been buying 15. It was stupid. They order a case and split it between their locations. I didn't want to run around getting them all, either. So whatever, I ordered them. I offered to pay up front to get them all in one place, but they "don't do that." If I didn't need that store, I'd so go somewhere else.

Anyway, despite all the rigamarole, I am happy to have them and they should last a good several years. The rabbits that have them are drinking more water, so I think the different nozzle is easier for them to work. And it doesn't drip, so no more sudden lakes in the dropping pans. It's a win-win all around.


<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>