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Archive for April, 2017

Emergency Fund Update

April 28th, 2017 at 09:41 pm

You can't imagine how much it made me smile to write that title again. I made a monthly deposit of $500 as well as a deposit of $34.50 from ones and rolled coin out of the coin jar.

And I'll get to make another one in a couple of days when the interest hits. Big Grin

$25,943.37 Beginning Balance
+__,534.50 Deposit
-----------------
$26,477.87 New Balance

Emergency Fund--Where It's At and Where It's Going

April 28th, 2017 at 01:57 pm

Alright, so after all is said and sifted, I am left with a grand total of $25,943.37 in savings. I have made the decision for it all to be the Emergency Fund and to have an empty Down Payment Fund for now. DH being unemployed set us back about 3 years, I think. There is no way we can think about moving at the moment, so I'm taking that fund off the table until I get the EF where I want it to be.

So where do I want it to be? By the end of this year I want it to be at $30,000. I'm not stopping there, either. Based on our expenses while DH was unemployed, we needed $6000 a month to survive. $1337 of that was for our monthly medical insurance premium, and about $650 was for medical out of pocket a month. So $2000 for medical each month and $4000 to pay bills and live on.

So we never figured he'd be unemployed more than 6 months and that wiped out our $20,000 Emergency Fund in 4 months. It would have been gone faster if we hadn't had a month without insurance. So my ultimate goal will be to have $72,000 in the EF, a full year of expenses. I know that will take a while to get to, and that's okay.

My incremental goals will be:

$30,000
$36,000
$42,000
$48,000
$54,000
$60,000
$66,000
$72,000

I figured that way divides it up into living expenses for a month. To hit $30,000 by the end of 2017 I need to deposit $500 a month for 8 months. I can do that. I will probably scrape up more here and there as well. I'd like it to be $1000, but I need to start paying Mom back on the loan, something that will take 3 years to pay off if we can swing $1000 a month. I still want it gone more than anything else.

Of course I will also set mini-goals for the EF. Every $1000 is what I used to do, so probably what I will do again. It will feel good to start making progress again each month instead of hemmorhaging money for 3/4 of a year.

Meal Planning for the Week

April 26th, 2017 at 02:35 am

I have switched my meal planning from Monday through Sunday, to Wednesday through Tuesday. That's because the sale adds come out on Tuesday and go active on Wednesday, so if I'm going to buy anything I can then incorporate it into my meal planning right from the start.

I was lucky this week that I not only found a lamb roast heavily marked down, but a non-GMO, free range, antibiotic free, not injected with anything to enhance it turkey for $25. It is 13 pounds, so that was less than $2 a pound. Usually this type of turkey sells for around $68. That is a savings of 64% of the original price. Plus they had a really good sale on organic bell peppers.

So all of those things heavily influenced my meal plan and were incorporated into it. We'll be using the other flank steak we got on markdown a couple weeks ago this week as well with the bell peppers.

Wednesday:
Baked Salmon
Steamed broccoli
Baked Root Vegetables
Strawberries

Thursday:
Roast Lamb
Steamed broccoli leftovers
Baked Potatoes
Pears

Friday:
Beef Carnitas (onions, peppers, tortillas)
Salad
Oranges

Saturday:
Turkey
Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans

Sunday:
Turkey Enchiladas
Salad
Oranges

Monday:
Leftover Turkey Casserole
Leftover Green Beans
Canned Pineapple

Tuesday:
Turkey Noodle Soup
French Bread
Cole Slaw
Oranges

Blood Test Results

April 25th, 2017 at 11:44 pm

The doctor did call and tell me that my ESR and CRP tests were both positive for massive inflammation, with a high sedimentation rate in the ESR, which is indicative of an autoimmune disease. The rate should be between 0 and 20. Mine is 45. My ANA is negative, which means I don't have lupus, thank goodness. That's the one that was positive on my daughter. My CRP is 29.2. Normal range is 0 to 7.9. My CMPA is normal. My thyroid is normal (it always is).

She thinks it is most likely to be rheumatoid arthritis, which is different in many ways from regular old osteoarthritis. Based on my symptoms that is the direction I was most heavily leaning myself. It definitely explains why sometimes I'm fine and sometimes I'm not. So now I need to make an appointment with the rheumatologist for me.

If it is not one thing it's another. Hopefully they can do something there to at least improve my quality of life. I know there is no cure.

Oh, and I am most definitely not allergic to peppers or tomatoes. She tested for that, too. It is good to know without a doubt. I am still wearing gloves when I cut them up.

Spring Cleaning Bug

April 24th, 2017 at 11:55 pm

Yesterday I got hit by the spring cleaning bug. My son and I reorganized 4 out of 5 of our cupboards and it is so much better now. We took everything out and wiped down all the shelves and then moved some things around. It is much easier to get to all of the storage containers now, not to mention the cups. We have one more upper cupboard to organize and four lower ones. One of the bottom ones was reorganized about two months ago, so it was fine.

I also redid the washcloth drawer and cleaned out the junk drawer so it can hold hand towels now. We got the kitchen floor cleaned off. I had some boxes of things that needed to be dealt with that were at one end of the kitchen and so I dealt with them and then there were some empty boxes that needed to be broken down and taken outside and a couple bags of canned goods that had never been put away. That got taken care of, too. The floor get well swept, but it still needs to be mopped. Hopefully I will have enough energy for that in couple of days.

I cleared a lot of stuff off of the long counter and put it away. Most of it does not need to be out all the time as it doesn't get used that often. So now all that is on that counter is the Kitchen-Aid, the crockpot, the Keurig, a box of storage lids and my rabbit medical kit. That last thing could find another home, but not until I get an additional bookcase in my room.

I did a lot of little things, like combining 3 partial bags of panko into one container, two partial bags of brown sugar into the canister, combining two containers of salt together, that sort of thing. I found the package of bucatini that went missing 3 months ago in a place I'm pretty sure my husband had to have put it, so now I can make pasta carbonara if the ducks ever start laying eggs again.

I reorganized the spices and the teas and the jams, the storage bags, crockpot bags, and oven bags, the freezer tins for cook ahead meals, and the numerous boxes of Clif bars, granola bars, fruit walked into a bar bars, etc., that everyone but me eats.

After I do the remaining cupboards, that just leaves me with about four boxes currently stored under the kitchen table to go through, my bedroom closet to finish, and the stack of boxes next to my armoire to go through. There is also a small section of the laundry room left, and a couple boxes in the hallway but once that is done, then the house should well and truly be tidy and organized. Except the kids' rooms which are slightly chaotic, but way better than they used to be.

I would like to get it all done before DH gets home, but that will depend on my energy levels. I got my test results back from the doctor and I definitely have something. But that is a post for tomorrow.

Shaking it Off

April 22nd, 2017 at 11:41 am

I think I might actually be starting on the upswing now with this head cold. I woke up feeling less tired than when I went to bed, it took less time to clear the gunk out of my nose and throat because there was less of it, and I had just enough energy to get a load of dishes and a load of laundry going. Of course, then I had to sit down because I am still a bit light-headed. I'll pace myself today, but if I can manage to get one more load of laundry and one more load of dishes done after this, I should be caught up. Unless I decide to change the sheets, but I may wait and do that tomorrow. Baby steps.

I watched the first season of Back in Time for Dinner. It was really interesting how food, its availability, its method of preservation and production and preparation all impacted family life and especially the lives of women.

I would have been quite frustrated during rationing and I know my family would have felt hungry with such small amounts of meat. We would have had to grow a lot of potatoes in our garden to make up for the lack. Potatoes will fill you when meat is scarce. The lack of fat would have been difficult, too. As farmers we would have been better off than most, but still...if we had to live under their exact conditions, than potatoes it would be.

I came away from the series with a greater appreciation of the abundance of fresh food we have today and the ease with which we can prepare it. It made me grateful I live now, with refrigeration and microwaves and freezers and dehydrators.

I see there are a couple more seasons available, so since I still have to rest a lot while I finish getting over this cold, I will probably tuck into those. I am getting a lot of granny squares crocheted for my bedspread so at least I don't feel completely unproductive.

I do have to go out and buy eggs at some point today. The birds are molting so I'm not getting any duck eggs at all. Or else they are hiding them again. I'm too sick to brave Costco on a Saturday. They have the cheapest organic eggs. I'm not even sure I want to brave Safeway on a Saturday, but I'll have to since Haggens is way too expensive for eggs. Plus I like the doughnuts at Haggens and they are hard for me to resist when I am sick and I am doing so well with the diet it is not worth putting them in my path. Maybe I can sit in the parking lot and just send my son in with a $20. That might be the easiest solution all around.

Managing

April 21st, 2017 at 09:48 pm

I was able to get myself down to the feed mill and back, but I can tell you that I was really glad that I wasn't doing it a couple days ago when this cold first hit. I had a bit more energy today, but still have had to take really long rest breaks.

I started making dinner at two. It was a stir-fry and I knew in order to get everything prepped I'd have to take it in stages with breaks in between. It wasn't too bad doing it like that and by the time 5:30 rolled around I had rested enough to do the actual cooking. It was good to have a whole meal that was healthy tonight instead of adding a salad to pizza or pasta.

DH figured out how to deposit his first paycheck over the internet. Since we don't have smartphones we've never been able to do the take a photo to deposit a check thing, but now our credit union has an app that allows a tablet to use it so he was able to deposit it that way. It won't show up until Tuesday, but that is better than waiting for it to show up in the mail.

His per diem will be on it as well as his training pay, but not his airfare reimbursement, so we will still have some money coming for that. It will be so nice not to have money being lost from savings anymore. These first couple months will still be tight because of medical, but once the new insurance kicks in July 1, I feel like we will be on the home stretch. I am not sure if we will be able to save any money until then, but at least we shouldn't have to take any more out.

DH seems to be enjoying his new job and liking the people he is working with, though there is a lot to straighten out to get things running smoothly. People seem to be real happy to have him there, which is always a good thing.

No Spend Day

April 19th, 2017 at 11:38 pm

Today was finally a no spend day, by dint of the fact that I didn't go anywhere or do anything. I spent the majority of the day resting. This head cold has really knocked me for a loop. I did manage to make lunch and dinner and do the evening rabbit check with my son. I also put one load of laundry that I washed last night into the dryer, where it remains. Considering how I am feeling, I call that a victory.

Tomorrow afternoon DD has a follow-up with the allergist, so that will be $50. And DH has to call in a feed order for turkey food for us to pick up on Friday, which will likely be around $100. Now that the mill has moved counties I have to buy in larger amounts so we are not making the trip all the time. It was a lot more convenient when it was just a couple miles from my house. I just hope I have the energy to drive down there Friday. I guess I'll have to. If I wait until Monday, the turkeys will be completely out of food.

I also have to pick up some black oil sunflower seeds for the rabbits as we are almost out. They get a tbsp of that each daily. It makes their coats glossy. It takes a long time to get through a bag, but we are almost there.

Speaking of the rabbits, the premature kit had his eyes open tonight, so now they all have their eyes open. He is also catching up in size to the smallest of the rest of the litter. They are moving into the too stinking cute stage now. Between two weeks and five weeks is when they are the most adorable.

The kids had to clean Gina's nose out tonight. I would have gone out if they had needed me, but fortunately they did not. Gina was so grateful. She'd managed to get mud lodged in her nostrils and was only breathing through her mouth. If you've never seen a turkey panting before, it is quite a sight. At first she was less than thrilled about being restrained, but once she realized what they were doing, she went completely limp and let them do it. She did her happy whistling trill afterwards.

George wasn't happy, but they'd had the foresight to lock him in the pen before they went after Gina. The last thing anyone needed was a protective tom going nuts on them. He's usually a mild-mannered fellow, but not if he perceives there is a threat to his mate.

I am well ahead of target for reading 50 books for the year. I am currently reading the latest Icicle Falls novel. My hold finally came in at the library. Of course once you go pick up one, that same night you get a notification that there are 4 more waiting for you that were not ready when you were actually there. Oh, well, free books are worth the trip and it is not that far.

Tax Question

April 19th, 2017 at 11:04 am

I am probably going to earn around $500 to $600 this year through youtube and adsense which is considered self-employment. If I put all of that money into an IRA will I still have to pay any taxes? I am still trying to figure out how the whole self-employment thing works.

Not Much to Report

April 18th, 2017 at 11:47 pm

Today I managed to drive DD to the doctor for the follow up on her eyes. That was a $50 co-pay. Then we went to the pharmacy to get the prescriptions I was too wiped out to pick up yesterday, and also got some psuedophedrine and a nasal rinse kit, so spent $31.91 there.

Then we stopped by the store and DD ran in and got some Breathe Easy and some Throat Coat tea from Traditional Medicinals, so that was $14.97.

I went to bed after we got back home, then got up briefly to tell DS where to dump the soil in the garden and then back to bed for a couple more hours, got up, cut up the rabbits we butchered last week and got them in the freezer, went back to bed again until night time, then went out with DS to take care of the rabbits, though I wasn't much more use than to do a belly check on the kits to make sure they were being fed (they were). And now I can't sleep. It's not like I slept during the day, either, just rested.

Dinner was TV dinners. I haven't done that in a very long time. Oh, well, a Fit Kitchen is still better than fast food or pizza delivery.

Spring Cold

April 17th, 2017 at 10:04 pm



Last night I started getting a scratchy throat and this morning I woke up with a full-fledged cold. Sometimes I think spring and summer colds are worse than winter ones, because in the winter all you want to do is hole up and rest and in the spring and summer you want to be out there doing things.

I went to the doctor this morning, so $30 co-pay. I really liked the new doctor. I was her first patient on her first day. She really listened to me. She decided to order blood work and they'll be testing for rheumatoid arthritis, nightshade allergies, thyroid, and a regular blood workup that checks cholesterol and all that. Maybe some other stuff. They drew five vials. I have a follow up with my own doctor on the 4th.

I was a little light-headed afterwards, but I don't know if that is from the head cold or the blood draw. I ate and laid down for 3 hours. I'm not sure if napped or not. If I did it was a surface sleep. I hope I sleep better tonight because I still feel exhausted.

Bonfire's litter is doing really well. Her four bio-kits all have their eyes open, and her foster kit is catching up in size, but may not open its eyes for another week, if I adjust its age for being premature. It could be 4 day to 7 days from now due to that. It's a lovely litter and the broken red is just gorgeous.

We need to replace 12 cages. That will be quite an expense, but I've put it off long enough and it needs to be done. I will probably replace 3 at a time, just so I don't have the cartons taking up a bunch of room while we build them out. It'll go slower with just me and DS putting them together, but I don't want to wait until DH gets back to get started. Hopefully, by the time the cages arrive I will be over my cold and able to put them together.

Tomorrow is a doctor's appointment for my daughter and I will have to pick up some prescriptions that I was too tired to pick up tonight. So more medical expenses. Yippee.

Good health and wellness forever eludes us. It's not so much to ask for is it? I'm tired of being tired and I'm sick of being sick. I am blessed in many aspects of my life. I sure wish this was one of them.

Somewhat Productive Day

April 16th, 2017 at 06:38 pm

I spent about 2 hours in the garden today and I will probably be paying for it for the next two days. I got all the strawberry plants that I had dug up and separated while DH was still home transplanted back into the garden. What had been in one 8 x 2 foot bed is now in three 8 x 2 foot beds and I have two 18 count flats worth of strawberry crowns still in 4 inch pots. I will probably sell them. The stores sell them for $1.50 a pot now so I can probably easily get 50 cents a plant.

After that I got about half of my copra keeping onions in. I need my son to add a bag of soil to the one end of the garden bed because it is much lower than the other before I plant the rest. I planted some blue lobelia, a blue harmony anemone, a purple and white cinnararia, and a blue and white cinnararia. I pulled some weeds, though there weren't very many in the raised beds, just a few.

I have some celery, curly-leafed parsley, and flat leafed parsley that I need to plant still, but I ran out of steam. I am really glad that dinner is in the crockpot. I made rack of lamb. All I did was cover it heavily with herbs de provence. I've made it several times before and it is always so falling off the bone tender and wonderful. I don't usually splurge for lamb, especially rack of lamb, but it was worth it for today. Sides are strawberries, broccoli, and baked sweet potatoes.

I am thinking of going...well, not exactly kosher, but eliminating all of the meats that were considered unclean in Leviticus. Which means bottom feeder fish, shellfish, and pork will be eliminated from my diet. Not sure about rabbit. Hare is excluded, but rabbit is a different species and not specifically mentioned. I think it probably is, though. We've been selling most of our rabbit anyway.

To be honest, sometimes having the rabbits really gets to me, like when we lose litters. Or during butchering time. Sometimes I think it would be nice to narrow down the numbers, keep a few for pets, a few for sales, and not have so much. But they pay for themselves and the family really enjoys the meat. So do I, but I do want to try this kinda kosher thing and see if it makes any difference to my health. I'd still make it for the others.

I can get on very well with the right kind of fish, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, duck, goose, quail, etc. I eat mostly chicken and turkey anyway. I'd miss lobster, crab, and shrimp, but I don't eat much of that anyway because of the expense.

I see the doctor tomorrow morning. She's new in the practice. I am hoping she is not a ditz like one of the other female doctors and one of the other male doctors. I wanted to see my own doctor, but the receptionist thought I should get in for pain meds on Monday and we could figure out everything else from there. My doctor didn't have an opening this week, as usual. Who knows? If I like this woman, I may switch to her. I have no attachment to my own doctor. I'm lucky if I see him once a year and have no loyalty to him at all, though I like him.

I think I'll go to bed early tonight. I wish this exhaustion would stop. Two hours of fairly slow, but steady working, should not wipe me out this way.

I Don't Get It

April 15th, 2017 at 10:16 pm

I have never understood why it is that when you sign up with direct deposit with a new job, the first paycheck doesn't get direct deposited. In this day and age especially of quick electronic transactions, it doesn't make sense to me. Back in the day when this sort of thing was new instead of commonplace and they were still working kinks out it was a bit more understandable, but it should not be an issue anymore.

So while DH will get his first paycheck next week, it will be a paper check he will have to mail home. I was expecting that, though, and did not have any plans budget wise until the following week when he will get the second paycheck direct deposited.

It's going to be very weird going back to an income based budget. It has been 9 months living off of savings, the Christmas bonus, and the income tax return. I'm sure I will get back into the groove and be used to it again in no time, but it'll take some adjusting.

Except for automatic payments from the bank account I have been running everything through the credit card and then taking a chunk out of savings at the start of each month and paying it off. Watching the balance on the card made me more careful while savings was dwindling. I hope I maintain some of that carefulness as we go back to the previous method of doing things.

I have a feeling I'm going to want to spend freely when income starts rolling in again, and that is not something I want to have happen. We can't afford to do that if we want to get our goals accomplished, especially a 12 month Emergency Fund.

I'm not sure how fast that will happen, but it was certainly proven to us that $20,000 is not enough for a family of four when there is a prolonged job loss and you have to pay for your own insurance. My ultimate goal there is $72,000. That would give us $6000 per month to live on and pay for insurance. It took 10 years to get it to $20K the first time. I need it to get there sooner than that. It is just going to be hard figuring out how.

In other news, I missed my blogoversary. It was April 9th, 11 years and over 77.6 million hits ago that I started this blog. Seems like forever and just yesterday all at the same time.

Yesterday was Spendy

April 14th, 2017 at 01:35 pm

So my foot is doing a lot better after the needle incident. Boy howdy was it difficult to walk the first 24 hours. I felt it quite a bit yesterday, but today when I stood up I didn't feel it when I walked. I can still feel it if I press on it with my finger, but I don't need to do that. It looks good. We couldn't really flush the wound, but we did smear antibiotic ointment on either end and I see no signs of infection.

Yesterday was a long day for me. I had to go to Walgreens and pick up a prescription for my daughter, $5. Fortunately they have a drive-thru so I didn't have to get out of the car for that. Then we went to Lowe's which is right next door and picked up some bags of garden soil, 2 major power strips with surge protectors and large separations between some of the plug-ins so when you have the giant plugs that will normally cover two plug-ins or the weirdly shaped ones that go sideways like a phone charger cord that will do the same thing, that is not something that will be an issue unless you have more than 3 of those. It also has usb ports in them. I spent $110.66 there. The two power strips were $52 of that amount.

After that I went to Rite-Aid to buy a padded envelope and then to the UPS store to mail DH his computer cord that he left at home. That cost $77 to do 2-day air to Alaska. He needs his computer usable ASAP though, so not much choice there. I'm going to be double checking his stuff next time. I don't want to pay that again.

Then we went to Trader Joe's and spent $82.28 on groceries. After that I picked up my daughter (my son ran all the errands with me to make sure I didn't fall down) and took her to the lab for another blood draw while my son walked home from the lab because he wanted to go for a walk. It took us 40 minutes at the lab. This time it was 6 vials of blood for 29 tests, as opposed to the 8 vials of blood last time.

By the end of all that I was wiped out. All of my joints were aching,my leg muscles were very tight, and I felt like I'd been put through the wringer. I think I've got something auto-immune. Either rheumatoid arthritis or MS like Dad had. But we are too busy getting my daughter diagnosed to deal with my stuff right now. After she is sorted I'll deal with me.

I was too tired to cook dinner so we grabbed fast food which was another $30.47. I felt bad about it, but I woke up with so much brain fog I did not think ahead and make it a crock pot day. I had no resistance by then.

Today will be better. I've got the fixings for loaded baked potato soup and the potatoes are already chopped up, so aside from cooking the bacon and assembling the soup, there is not that much to do.

We do have one errand to run today, but it is somewhere that has ride on carts so that should make it easier on me. I've also got my ankle braces and knee brace on this time. That should help, too.