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Archive for March, 2017

Doctor's Visit

March 31st, 2017 at 01:14 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Update on My Daughter

March 30th, 2017 at 12:05 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hmm...

March 28th, 2017 at 10:13 am

I've been thinking about Buendia's post the other day about how she meal plans at lunch as well. I've often wondered why I don't plan lunch. I know why I don't plan breakfast. I am too tired when I get up to stick to anything complicated. I tend to rotate between bacon and egg or two sausages and cucumbers. I don't eat typical breakfast foods in the morning like pancakes, waffles, French toast, biscuits, muffins, cereal, or that sort of thing. If I did, a meal plan might make sense. Also, everyone gets up at a different time, so there is no cohesive breakfast time.

Lunches are harder to plan for some reason. There are usually leftovers, but I don't know what and how much there will be. It's fend for yourself and while there are generally always sandwich fixings, I only eat high carbs at dinner time. DH tends to eat the leftovers and the kids tend to eat sandwiches. I will usually have chicken that is either leftover from a whole roasted chicken, or a bunch of legs that I cooked up for my lunches. I eat either salad or cucumbers with it, low-carb veggies of some sort. So with everyone having something different, it makes it hard to plan there.

Dinner is much easier since we are all eating the same thing at the same time. When I plan that out I plan a protein, a starch, a lower carb veggie, and a fruit. It serves me well to have this template as I can then just plug in what each item will be, and it keeps the higher carb foods contained in one meal, which works best for my blood sugar and my attention span throughout the day.

Why do you meal plan they way you do?

Meal Planning for the Week

March 28th, 2017 at 09:57 am

Last week was bad. We barely stuck to the meal plan at all and got takeout a couple of times. Cheap takeout, but takeout nonetheless. I was feeling cruddy, very lethargic, and generally not myself for some reason. I was starting to suspect the onset of depression, though it has been years since my last episode. But I woke up feeling better yesterday. Still very tired though.

I designed my meal plan this week to be more attainable if I don't get my energy back with a lot of crock pot cooking, microwaving, or easy assembly cooking. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I've started using freeze dried and dehydrated foods from Thrive Life. It helps me immensely to have prechopped onions and peppers that I just have to rehydrate for a few minutes before using. I will dehydrate my own this year, but this is nice to have in the meanwhile and saves me so much work at dinnertime.

Monday:
Apricot Honey Pork Ribs (crockpot)
Fried (canned) potatoes with (freeze dried) onions and peppers
Broccoli (frozen, micro-steamed)
Canned Pears

Tuesday:
Rabbit Enchiladas (canned rabbit meat, frozen Enchilada sauce, precooked tortillas, preshredded cheese)
Rice (rice cooker, no babysitting) with Enchilada Sauce
Salad (preshredded) with fixings (prechopped)
Apples

Wednesday:
Beef Stew (crock pot) with home canned beef, home canned carrots, and home canned potatoes
Leftover Broccoli
Tangeloes

Thursday:
Rabbit Stir-fry with frozen, precut vegetables
Fried Rice (freezer)
Grapes

Friday:
Chicken tortellini (store bought) with home canned pasta sauce
Salad
Apples

Saturday:
Homemade pizza (frozen crust) with precut vegetables and meat
Cole slaw (preshredded cabbage)
Pineapple

Sunday:
Beef Pot Roast (crock pot)
Mashed Potatoes (instant, microwaved)
Home Canned Green Beans (microwave)
Frozen Blueberries

What's Left

March 25th, 2017 at 10:52 pm

I think, barring any further unforeseen circumstances, that we are going to come out of this whole ordeal with $30,000 left in the bank. I've been going back and forth on whether or not I want to still consider that the down payment fund or just make that be the Emergency Fund and start the down payment fund over from scratch.

That might be a little disheartening. I know we won't be doing anything whether the money is called one thing or the other, until both funds are to goal, but I just don't know.

I could split the difference with $15K into each or $10K into one and $20K into the other. I know it is all semantics. I just hate having to start completely over with both.

I guess I am being silly. I need to do whatever will screw with my brain the least. I just need to figure out what that is.

If It's Not One Thing

March 25th, 2017 at 01:06 am

Something is wrong with my daughter's eyes to the point that she started losing vision in the lower half of one of them today. Called her regular eye doctor who, is only an optometrist and he said take her to the regular doctor, so we did, just managing to get the last appointment of the day.

The doctor their said he could tell something was wrong with it, but it wasn't anything he had ever seen before and that she needed to go see an opthamologist and managed to get her a late night appointment with one (he came back after dinner to see her).

The diagnoses is one of two things. Either a virus that sprang from nowhere or a virus that is caused by an auto-immune disease. So she'll be going back next week during regular office hours and having blood work done to test for auto-immune diseases. The hope is it is just a virus. If it is, you treat it, it goes away. If it is a virus caused by an auto-immune disease it will go away with treatment but will reoccur.

Auto-immune diseases most likely to cause this are rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. I've long suspected she had an auto-immune disease, but I figured it would be MS like Dad or fibromyalgia. I hope it isn't any of the above, though.

This could get expensive. Our insurance doesn't cover labs until you've met the deductible. Although she might be getting close on hers. Her prescriptions were $210.

In other news, I paid the 6 month premium on the car insurance of $436.01 today and a medical bill for my daughter of $130. Plus a regular co-pay of $30 and a specialists co-pay of $50. The car insurance was down about $50 from last time. Our car is over five years old now, so I think that may be why.

DH got his schedule for his drug test for work so that's moving along as expected. I really want to see the benefits packet. I do hope it comes on Monday as it is supposed to.

We spent some time putting the cabinet together. We still have to add two more shelves, the top, the back, and the earthquake guards and then it will be done. It shouldn't take more than an hour. Hopefully DH will get around to fixing the two garden bed corners that are coming apart as well.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel and It's Not a Train

March 22nd, 2017 at 01:10 am

Company B came through. DH has a job. He starts April 14th. He'll be making more than he was when he was laid off from Company A, but not as much as he was before Company A's 9% pay cut. They said they'd mail out a benefits package and it should be here on Monday, so we will know how much medical costs through them and whether or not there is 401K matching and how long it is before he can contribute.

He'll be working 3 weeks on/3 weeks off, which is not the most favorable of schedules, the 2 and 2 is much easier on the family and is easier to budget, but a job is a job and we can't afford to be picky right now. The way I did the budget in the past on a 3 and 3 is that I'd take 2 weeks, which was for one month and the third week I'd put in savings until the next month's budget. Each month's budget only dealt with two paychecks, whether it was a month that had 2, 3, or 1 paycheck.

That's another thing I'll need to find out, whether the pay is weekly, every two weeks, or once a month. The norm up there has always been weekly, but who knows with this company?

DH ran the numbers for me so I could figure out the new budget. At least what the numbers will be before they start taking out health insurance and retirement. I should be able to start rebuilding the Emergency Fund, though not at the speed I'd like. My goal for it is going to be $30,000, because $20,000 was not enough. If it wasn't for the Farm Down Payment Fund, we'd be living on credit right now. So $30,000 with perhaps $60,000 as a longer term goal.

$60K would cover a year's expenses with health insurance for the four of us. Although I'm hoping that if there is a next time, my kids will be on their own and it would only be the two of us, which would be much cheaper to cover. Or at least working jobs where they can pay for their own health insurance.

My earnings from youtube and AdSense and Pinecone will go into the EF. And if I do publish my novel (which is coming along) after I finish it, any earnings from that will go to rebuild the EF as well, I think, though I would like to start an IRA for myself also. Plus the old coin jar and $1 bills trick, which always serves me well.

Once the Emergency Fund is rebuilt, we can start adding to the Farm Down Payment Fund again, although somewhere along the line, I'd like to purchase half a beef.

We have learned to live on so much less, but with income again we'll be paying my mother $1000 a month again for 3 years and that's a big chunk. Maybe buying a farm is a pipe dream. Maybe it'll be something I have to give up. Or scale down. I know we can be pretty self-sufficient on two acres, but I have always wanted five with at least two acres in trees so we'd have our own renewable wood supply and not be dependent on propane.

I don't know. We'll have to see. The important thing is that DH has a job and we can at last get things turned around and going in the right direction again. Thank you all for your prayers. They have meant the world to me.

Monday Meal Planning Week 12

March 20th, 2017 at 03:57 pm

I am starting to see a major dent in the deep freezer. There is still plenty of rabbit and hamburger, but the pork from our pork share is down to ribs. I think there is one package of beef steaks. There isn't much chicken, but there is some. There are still plenty of frozen berries from last summer, mostly blueberries, and plenty of frozen plums.

I am also seeing a big dent in our home canned items, though we still have quite a bit left. I am not sure we will quite make it all the way to full on garden production, but I think we will be getting lettuce, broccoli, and kale (we already have some kale) before we run out of green beans. I should be able to plant broccoli any day now according to the planting chart, but I haven't seen it out for sale yet.

Anyway, here is the meal plan for this week, based largely around what we already have on hand.

Monday:
Pasta Romana with Garlic Parsley Sauce
Salad
Apples

Tuesday:
Garlic Butter Chicken
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans
Canned Pears

Wednesday:
Apricot Pork Ribs
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Broccoli
Oranges

Thursday:
Rabbit Stew (potatoes, carrots)
Green Beans
Apples

Friday:
Homemade pizza with onions, bell peppers, ham, sausage, and pepperoni
Salad
Canned Pineapple

Saturday:
Homemade Chili
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches on Homemade French Bread
Salad
Apples

Sunday:
Southern Fried Rabbit
Fried Potatoes
Cole Slaw
Oranges

Yesterday was Our Anniversary

March 19th, 2017 at 12:40 am

22 days ago on the 18th, DH and I got married in a little church that is no longer there, because they sold it, became a mega warehouse church, and completely changed into something they were not before. But I digress.

The plan for our anniversary was to go see Beauty and the Beast. It was our movie when it came out in the 90's when we were engaged and going to college. He was working at the movie theater and he had several free passes a month. Sometimes it was the only time we got to spend together, since I went to class in the mornings, then worked Noon to 8 in the restaurant.

After I got off work I'd drive to the theater and hang out with him in the projection room and we watched Beauty and the Beast many times. So we were going to see the movie, but I woke up with those extreme muscle cramps you get in your calf muscles and I figured sitting still for 2 hours without being able to stretch them would be a nightmare. And DH was tired anyway. We may go for today or we may wait for the following weekend.

So instead we celebrated by building me a new corner desk out of pallet wood and presswood cubes that I have had since I was a kid. We had to sand them down to get all the scribble marks and stickers that my kids put on them over the years off. We did not paint it as it is too cold yet to be painting outside, but we will eventually paint the whole thing white.

Here's the set up:



It's on the short side of the L. It holds my cooking magazines that I sill need to transcribe recipes out of and some homeschool consumable activity books. Then my box of tools that others are not allowed to use because they never bring them back. Then my sewing box.

The next cube holds all the OTC cold and allergy medicines for me and the kids. Then a shelf of the granny squares I've completed so far. Finally the last shelf holds our firesafe lockbox. We don't actually lock it though because the idea behind it is that it is just there for if there is a fire. I can get all the documents again, but it would be very time-consuming. Then up on top I've got my basked full of tape, sticky notes, and staples, emergency goat milk replacer, and the coin jar.


This is the long area of the L where I will do my computer work and writing I won't have much else on this section. Maybe an inbox. I will put up a painting on the wall overhead, though.


This is the set up at the other end of the long part of the desk.


The area beneath the long side at the far end of the desk is set up for homeschool paperwork, tests, and quizzes.


The area beneath the short side holds my yarn for crochet and loom knitting and the file boxes that contain our medical information for the past five years that we need to retain for tax purposes.

All in all I'm very pleased.

Odds and Ends

March 16th, 2017 at 08:34 pm

Well, after my little rant last night I got an email from AdSense today saying my payment should be deposited in 4 to 5 business days. So I guess I finally got everything filled out right with no more hidden boxes to check or secret codes to enter. So I feel better about that.

DH still hasn't heard back from Company B. He's going to give the guy a call tomorrow and try to get an update on the situation. He's still applying for other jobs. I just with there were more available. The previous administration's policies really damaged the industry in the last several years and it is taking some time to turn the old dinosaur back around now that some of those restrictions have been lifted.

We went to Costco and did a major stock up. We bought a lot of cheese, butter, toilet paper and Kleenex. I also got $52 worth of razors. We also picked up vitamins. I'd say half our dollar amount was non-food items. We got spices as well. Mostly several bottles of salt and pepper now that they are no longer out of stock. We spent just over $300, $157 or so of which was food, the rest household goods.

I was disappointed in the oranges. They were either partly green or moldy. Yuck. I know they are now out of season, so probably wouldn't be that good now anyway. I was hoping they'd have Bartlett pears, but they only had D'Anjou and I don't like those nearly as well. They did have Asian pears, but I didn't like the way they looked either. So no fruit purchases were made. I guess we'll be eating canned fruit this week and apples I already had in the fruit drawer.

I was going to look at the cookbooks, but they had an entire herd of people parked in front of the books and they don't have a large book section anymore since they moved to the new store. I do like to look over the cookbooks for something promising as I make so much food from scratch. Although I haven't seen any good ones at Costco in over a year, so I probably didn't miss out on anything.

We didn't do anything else today. Well, I crocheted a granny square. I have to do one more to meet my goal of doing two a day until I have enough to make my blanket. I was hoping to get the desk built today, but that didn't work out. Maybe tomorrow.

Frustrated

March 15th, 2017 at 11:56 pm

Google AdSense is frustrating the crap out of me right now. Every time I think I've dotted every i and crossed every t so that I will actually get my payment from them, turns out there is yet one more box to check hidden somewhere in the remotest recesses of their website. While creating ad blocks is easy, everything else is soooooooo user unfriendly. They are straight-forward about nothing, important info is hidden, and I have to watch numerous videos to try to figure everything out.

And are those videos on the AdSense page? Oh, no, nothing so easy as that. They are on youtube and they are done by other users that have figured stuff out. Of course you have to make sure the video is from not too far in the past because they change stuff all the time. Ugh.

Youtube itself is a little easier to figure out, but not by much. They don't hide the info, but it is not particularly easy to interpret. I am trying not to bang my head against the wall, but it would feel better than dealing with all this rigamarole.

We haven't heard anything further from Company B. They only called on Saturday. They said they'd call back in a couple days. I am assuming business days. It is possible the guy meant a few days when he said a couple of days. I wish people would be more precise with their speech. A couple is two. Which means all day Monday, all day Tuesday, they should have called today.

I have very little faith that this isn't some cosmic joke they are playing just to screw DH over again, but I am particularly pessimistic at the moment. He probably meant a few. I am rational enough to realize that.

It would be nice to be able to buy a plane ticket if necessary before the prices go way up for last minute purchases. But no one operates on my time table or my budget, so whatever.

We lost Leo on the night of the 13th. He died of old age. He was the last of the original rabbits we brought home. We bred him with Ella on the 6th so maybe there will be one last litter from him. His kits always had the sweetest personalities. This puts us down to 2 bucks, our New Zealand white Starbuck and our broken black New Zealand Zander. Starbuck is three and Zander will be one April 9th. I am hoping either Zander's breeding with Ruby or with Bonfire will produce a NZ broken red buck. We won't know until around the end of the first week of April.

This week has been a little topsy turvy. I have gotten stuff done, though. We built an open cabinet and are working on sanding more wood for the second canning cabinet. We got a bunch of boxes taken to storage. I dehydrated more garlic. I cleaned up the garden a bit. The kitchen needs a major spring cleaning, we need to butcher, and I need to transplant and divide my aloe plants.

Today was a no spend day. At least there is that.