This morning I was down to 18 pounds lost. Woohoo. It's all the gardening and little sugar, I'm sure. On Saturday I worked 5 hours in the garden and on Sunday I worked 4 hours. Today I worked about an hour.
I planted cilantro, English thyme, dill, chives, and tricolor sage in bed one. I planted a San Marzano roma tomato plant, patty pan squash, and gold rush zucchini in bed 2. In bed 3 I planted a Lemon Boy yellow tomato plant and pickling cucumbers. There should be enough room for basil plants once they are available.
In bed seven I planted 6 celery plants, 6 Romanescu broccoli, and 12 green kolhrabi plants. That is half the bed. I meant to get more broccoli, but I totally forgot when I discovered they had cucumbers and summer squashes. I'll pick up broccoli and cauliflower on Friday. Maybe a nasturtium plant, too, but that will go in a hanging basket as it can easily take over an entire raised bed.
I plan on making salsa and pickles this year and canning them. Of course I will also be canning potatoes and green beans. Maybe carrots. I don't have to can pears this year as we still have a ton. There are five Italian plum trees coming up in the backyard. We already have one that is four years old. I don't know if we will keep all of them, but one of them is really well formed so I think we might keep it.
If we get grapes this year we will make grape jelly. We'll have to do something to protect them from squirrels and rats, though. The one year we had grapes they stripped the vines before the grapes were ripe. It was devastating since it has been loaded. We don't have rats anymore but we do have lots of squirrels.
We have a mated pair of cottontail rabbits that have been hanging out in our yard and our next door neighbor's yard. They are very friendly and you can walk up to about a foot from them before they decide to move and even then they just go a couple of feet and then look to see if you are following them.
Yesterday we got the duck coop halfway down. Hopefully we can get the rest of it down before the weekend, but DH worked late tonight so I don't know. I want to get the turkey pen down, too, so we can plant potatoes there.
Fred Meyer has chicken on sale for 88 cents a pound, so I think I will be shopping there come Friday. The best price I have been able to get otherwise is 99 cents a pound. I will get a bunch of thighs to skin and debone so I can have boneless/skinless at a much cheaper price than I could find otherwise.
I then take the bones with that little bit of meat left on them and make chicken meat stock. Although I did see another idea on what to do with the bones, since there is meat on them. You cook them like wings and put barbecue sauce on and then it is a cheap wing substitute since wings are so expensive now. I could do half and half, and just leave a little more meat on the bones. And then with the skins, you can season them and fry them up like bacon. It's really good. Or if you have a dog, you can dehydrate the skins for treats. It's a great way to save some money and not have any wasted food.
Archive for April, 2019
This morning I was down to 18 pounds lost. Woohoo. It's all the gardening and little sugar, I'm sure. On Saturday I worked 5 hours in the garden and on Sunday I worked 4 hours. Today I worked about an hour.
Roasted potatoes, onions, and bell peppers
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Pork Steaks with Onions
French Onion Chicken
Beef Pot Roast
Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Mexican Rice)
Yesterday was the first day all week I didn't have to run for a doctor or dental appointment and today we are back on it, taking my daughter to the neurologist because of suspected petit mal seizures, or what they now call absence seizures. Also her migraines have increased.
Anyway, DS and I worked in the garden for 2.5 hours sifting dirt to pick out the morning glory roots. I hope we got it all. I used the sifted dirt to top off two of the 8 x 2 foot beds. If we didn't get it all, I've contaminated everything, but it really appears as if we did. I now have 3 8 x 2 beds I can plant into.
I am going to plant two tomato plants this year, into the end of two of those beds and then on the other end will go cucumbers in one and gold rush zucchini into the other. The third one I have already transplanted my rosemary into and will add the rescued yarrow, calendula, and oregano. I also want to put in a few thyme plants and then some basil when it gets warm enough. With the echinacea in barrels, there is room for all the herbs in an 8 x 2 bed, although I may have to tuck the basil elsewhere if the other herbs have expanded too much by the time it is warm enough to put the basil in.
Today after DH gets home from work, around four, we'll go to the industrial area and look for free pallets. There is always a ton on Fridays. I want to stack three or four pallets and then put an old duck wading pool on top to plant my strawberries in. We have two pools so we can do this twice. I want to put 12 plants in per pool. One of the pools is slightly smaller, so I'll put the ones who have less of a runner habit in that one.
I need DH to pull all the hoses out of the garden and check them for cracks. They didn't get put up last winter and at least one of them is badly cracked. I think one of them is good, but I don't know about the other two.
We'll continue to sift dirt so we can fill up one of the 8 x 4 foot beds that is pretty low and then we'll have to start dumping it on a tarp so we can get it out of the way. Once the bed is empty and we can lift it up out of the way, we can get the last of the morning glory that grew underneath the bed out. Then when we put it back, I can move it over about a foot. That will give us more room to maneuver the wheelbarrow in the future.
I really hope I don't have to resort to poison on the morning glory. I have had a chemical free garden for nearly a decade here. I would hate to change it, but it might end up being the only way. It would be at ground level, though, and the raised beds are two feet high, so it likely would not get into the food at all. Plus I'd put down a thick layer of cardboard before putting the dirt back in the bed. I think it would be okay.
I am just so glad I am feeling good enough to do all this garden work. I am still doing really well with the Enbrel. And the scale is moving again, which coincides with me not eating two chocolate chip cookies at every dinner for a week. Go figure. LOL The more I lose of my stomach fat the easier it is to garden and the longer I can go without a break. I went down a pant size so I am very happy about that. I sure hope it continues.
I finally went and got my hair cut. The haircut and style was $59, plus I gave her a $15 tip. Then I bought some Moroccan Oil Intense Curl Cream which was $37.96 (with the tax for the haircut and cream added in). So a total of $110.96. The hair cream is wonderful, it holds the curl without it getting crunchy like most styling products. My hair is super soft with it. It's a fairly large bottle, too. I figure it will last a few months with my hair being so short now.
The last time I went was in April of last year, so yes, it is expensive but I want a really good cut that is easy to maintain as it grown out and I've found the cheap hair salons do not do the same job at all and they don't know how to cut curly hair. She took off twelve inches. It's pretty short, for me, cut to an inch below my chin, at least when it is dry. When it is wet it is about two inches longer because I have curly hair. I am very happy about the style. It is cute, but simple.
After that I went to Penney's and bought 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels (which are big enough to dry my shorter hair with now), and 2 wash clothes. I am going to slowly start replacing our towels by buying like this every couple of weeks. The first ones are mine, because my towels are the oldest and in the worst shape. They are cheap WalMart towels and I wanted something a little better in quality. We all have towels in different colors. I am turquoise, DH is green, DS is royal blue, and DD is purple. My new ones are mostly turquoise with some white stripes and some very thin blue stripes. I spent $45.60.
Then after that I went to Walgreens and bought a box of Colorsilk hair dye. They were on sale for just under $5 a box. I'm going for dark auburn, which is pretty much what my hair color was when I was young, except it had gold and ash streaks in it, too. Now that my hair is short the idea of dying it is not so overwhelming. Most of what I have left after the cut is grey and white where the ash streaks used to be. A bit of the auburn is still there, but not much, and none of the gold. I also bought a magazine, a concealer stick, some sunscreen (the pricey sensitive skin stuff), and a giant bottle of water (99 cents for 34 oz). I spent $24.57.
So it was quite a spendy day, but my envelopes were well-funded and everything was planned for.
DS and I also did some more work in the garden, sifting the soil in one of the beds that has the morning glory roots in it. We are now about 1/4 of the way through it. I am finding a ton of worms, which is a great indicator of soil health. We are also catching some horsetail in our sifting process. DS also got some more sod pulled up, about two wagon loads worth. We didn't work for too long. I am being careful not to overdo it and to make sure DS doesn't overdo it either, but my garden muscles are getting stronger and so am I. Soon I will be able to go a lot longer and not have to worry so much about it.
Amber was asking on her last post about how much is too much to save in your sinking funds and was it necessary to do that when you had an emergency fund, after listening to some speaker who did not think they were. My answer got so long I decided to just make it into my own post.
As for the sinking funds, they are very necessary. To me the emergency fund is for true emergencies, not the expected expenses that can come up over the course of a year or two. Emergencies like a tree falling on your house, flooding taking out the bottom floor of your house, a car accident that puts you in the hospital due to an uninsured motorist, your car engine just dying for no discernible reason, or losing your job and not being able to find work for six months (or longer). Not for the things you can really plan for.
What a person might do is sit down and figure out how much they really need in each fund. As for the house repair fund, I'd work towards having enough in there to replace your roof. It may be several years before you need to, but those are very expensive. You probably need to eventually have saved up $7 to $10K for that, which should also cover lesser things like painting, faucet or toilet repairs, deck or porch repairs, etc. Maybe more if you want to be replacing your carpets or windows at some point.
The amount in your car maintenance fund should probably be figured by how old your vehicle is and whether or not you have any large repairs that might be coming up. For me, my van is coming up on 8 years old and will likely need new brakes when we hit 50,000 miles, which is 5000 miles away. It is also probably going to need new tires at about the 60,000 mile mark. So I am working towards saving up about $2000 for that over the next two years. We don't put that much mileage on the van. We might need to replace a belt or a fuel pump along the way as we haven't had to so far.
I have an Appliance Fund in case one of those things go out. How old is your fridge, your dishwasher, your stove, and your washer and dryer? Having the money to go for that is a good idea if your appliances are old.
And of course having sinking funds for your car insurance, sorority dues, HOA dues if you have that, and any other six month or yearly expenses is just smart planning.
Having enough in a medical fund to pay your deductible for the year is a tremendous relief. To not get smacked upside the head with emergency medical expenses and have to worry about shelling out a bunch of money you do not have is life-altering. It is so much better than having to scrape for 3 to 12 months to get it all paid off and is worth it's weight in gold.
It is all about being prepared so these things don't destroy your finances. So figure out what works for you. Do not listen to pundits who are there to make a quick buck and may not have the facts and figures to back them up. Use common sense and logic and listen to people who have been there and who have done that instead.
So I've been working really hard on improving my diet since my last lipid panel and I've had some good results back from the one I did last week. It still has some room for improvement, but I was very excited to see that my work is paying off.
My HDL, which is the good cholesterol has gone up from 35 to 43 and is now barely withing normal range, which is 40 to 59. My LDL, which is the bad cholesterol has gone up, though, from 57 to 67, but it is still less than 99, which is where they want it to be. My Triglycerides saw the biggest change. They have gone from 271 down to 162. They are still not in the normal range of 0 to 149, but they are a heck of a lot closer. My total cholesterol went from 145 to 142. Normal is 0 to 199.
So my goal for the next six months is to try to lower my Triglycerides to normal levels and to raise my good cholesterol. The ways to do this are to limit sugar intake, eliminate bread and pasta, exercise more and differently, avoid saturated fat and transfat, drink less or no alcohol, lose weight, eat more fish and oats (they also say avocados and beans, but I don't like either), and avoid foods linked to high triglyceride levels.
I am going to continue to focus on losing weight, eating more fish and oats, doing more exercise, and limiting sugar. I only eat bread or pasta twice a week and I'm not ready to give that up. I don't drink alcohol at all unless I need elderberry tincture which is 2 tsp while I'm sick. I have been eating a little too much in the sweets department, though. Not overeating it, just having one sweet thing a day, which I really don't need. I won't give up eating animal fat, though. That is what has raised my good cholesterol. But if I eat more fish it will mean less beef or pork fat.
I am already doing most of the things to raise my good cholesterol, but the one thing it said was to choose purple produce. So I am going to try eating more purple cabbage, purple or scarlet carrots, purple onions, purple sweet potatoes, black grapes, and blueberries.
My ultimate goal is to be able to get off the high cholesterol drug, which is controlling things, but if I lose enough weight I may not need it anymore. It would be nice not to have to shell out the $30 a month for that drug anymore.
I am hoping if I ever get down to a more normal weight I will be able to get off my high blood pressure medicine, too. That will require exercise and maintaining the better diet I am on, which is the recommended high protein, low carb diet.
Our insurance also offers a $20 discount per month on the premium if we all get our blood work done and have our waists measured by November to qualify for the discount in 2020. While I find the waist measurement invasive, I'll put up with it for the discount. Besides, I think all of the weight I have lost has been from my waist and stomach anyway, so it is getting smaller as I go along.
I also saw my sleep doctor last week and got a new c-pap mask, a new modem for my c-pap because it was broken, a new hose, and a six month supply of nose pieces and the monthly filters plus a replacement of the big filter that needs to be changed once a year. Not sure how much I am going to get charged for that, but they did say our insurance covered most of it.
Sleep doctor has changed the dosage on one of my pills, doubling it. It has made a tremendous difference since. I can sleep 7.5 to 9 hours now instead of the 4 to 6 I'd been getting. I feel so much better getting decent sleep. That also helps me not cheat on my diet, because when I am exhausted I just want starch and sugar.
I am doing really well after a month on Enbrel. I am able to do so much more around the house and in the garden. I feel like this drug is giving me my life back. It is nice to have stamina again.
So last weekend DS and I planted 250 onion plants, turned the compost bin, and topped off 3 garden beds with finished compost.
Today we worked on pulling Morning Glory, which involved digging down two feet in the beds in some cases just to get at the root system. I despise this stuff and I still have great disgust for the neighbor who planted it and allowed it to invade at least six other properties. It has invaded 3 of the raised beds and it is going to be a major pain to dig it all out, but we have to. If we leave it in it will take over any vegetables we plant.
After that I pulled the old strawberry plants out of two of the strawberry beds. I will be planting a tomato in each one and then cucumbers in one and gold rush zucchini in the other. I still have one more strawberry bed to pull.
I did buy 24 new strawberry plants, 12 Sweet Sunrise and 12 Seaside. Both are supposed to be very sweet. Anything will beat the varieties I am pulling, which are Quinalt and Tri-Star. Those are big berries, but they are not very sweet at all. I think they were bred to be stable in shipping, not to taste good. If they are good I will allow them to make runners and propagate new plants. I wasn't going to plant any this year, because I didn't want to take up bed space.
I won't be planting them in the third strawberry bed, but instead we are going to put down 3 or 4 pallets and then put the wading pool we had for the ducks on top of it and use that to grow the strawberries, that way it will be high enough for me to harvest without having to get down on the ground. DH will drill some holes in it. It already has a few small one inch cracks in the bottom, but it needs more drainage than that.
First the weeds in the area need to be pulled. We already pulled about 3 wheelbarrow loads today. It looks so much better already. I think I am going to have to pull everything out of the herb bed. It is one that has Morning Glory in it and a ton of grass. Plus I need to take out the Echinacea and divide it. Also I want to harvest some of the root for making tinctures.
We did pick a quart jar of dandelion flowers which I dehydrated. It is easier to pull the petals out when it is dehydrated. I am then going to use those petals to make dandelion jelly, which if you have never had it, tastes like a lighter version of honey. All you do is make a tea by pouring boiling water over the petals, strain it, add the proper amounts of sugar and pectin, and make the jelly. Much easier than fruit jelly. It is very good and is one of my favorite jellies. So that is on the agenda for later this week, probably when it is raining.
Tomorrow I hope to at least get through the one bed with the Morning Glory. We'll have to get DH to help, too. It's a big job for just two people to muddle through. I'd like to get it done this weekend and the other two done within the next week. May will be here before we know it and I will need to use those beds to plant the warmer weather veggies, especially since I am growing peppers this year.
I just feel a real urgency to grow, can, and freeze as much of my own produce as possible this year. I am expecting grocery prices to skyrocket because of all the flooding and the loss of farm animals in the middle states.
Speaking of skyrocketing grocery prices, I am doing my best to take advantage of meat sales right now, so I can put the meat in food saver bags and freeze for future use. Winco had chicken on sale, both legs and thighs, for 98 cents a pound. I bought 4 packs of thighs and 1 pack of legs. The thighs had 10 pieces in each pack, so I was able to divide them up into 5 bags of 8 thighs, and then the legs had 12 pieces, so I just did one bag for that. Usually I need 8 legs for dinner, but when I go to use this one, I will take four of the legs to make I really hearty chicken meat stock.
Chicken was the only meat I was really low on, so I was quite happy to see this sale. I may go back and get another 5 packs. I wanted to get 10, but didn't have the fridge space to store it until I could get it divided and frozen. But under $25 for 6 meals worth of chicken, plus what will be 4 quarts of chicken broth and some meat for wraps or sandwiches, is hard to beat.
I just really wish wings would go on sale. I still remember when you could buy wings for 29 cents a pound, but now they are ridiculously priced for what used to be considered an item only good for making soup. I blame the BBQ chicken wing industry for the increase in price. I will just have to make BBQ chicken legs when I am craving wings instead.
Hey, everyone, one of the techs has asked who specifically is having trouble posting photos on their blogs. I think it is everyone, but if you could just leave a message on this post so I can pass it on so they can hopefully finally get this fixed, it would be super helpful.
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_400.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_441.41 Autopays (Citi)
_721.87 Additional Medical (Citi)
__61.74 Life Insurance DH
__60.46 Life Insurance Me
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_500.00 Monster Mom Loan
__70.00 Allowances Kids
3157.84 Total Money Out
$19,700.00 Balance Forward
-__,500.00 Payment Made
$19,200.00 New Balance
DS and I spent three and a half hours working outside today. I have been on antibiotics for 3 days (it was a sinus infection) and already I feel great improvement. So what we did was take all the unbroken down hay and straw off the top of two of the compost bins and combine that in to the freshest stuff in the third compost bin. Then we could get down to the really good compost underneath.
We did six wheelbarrow loads of compost and topped off the two long beds and then filled in the low end of one of the big beds. The two long beds are now all ready to go. The onion plants arrived in the mail today and I have their root ends soaking in water. We will plant them tomorrow, rain or shine. I'm hoping for shine.
We also got another large bed weeded and most of a second. There's a lot of morning glory runners and we were starting to lose light. I don't think I can plant in this bed with all the runners, so since this is the one where the side is coming off, we are just going to take off the side and we are going to sift all the dirt in it and take out the runners and roots. We have to get them out, since even the smallest piece of runner can generate a plant.
I am going to use a good portion of the sifted dirt to top up the other big beds and then we will rebuild that bed, this time with 2" x 4" boards and proper 4 x 4 corner posts. It will cost about $50 with wood and screws. Mom bought a bunch of soil and she isn't going to use it all, so we will use the extra to refill it. Gradually, I'd like to replace all the garden beds like this, but I think this is the only one we will do this summer. We might do another at the end of the growing season and do a third early next spring.
I also went through all the tomato cages and picked out the two best ones. I am only growing two tomato plants this year and I don't want to worry about a collapsing cage. These cages are quite old and some of them have broken rungs. I have repaired most of them over the years, but I really ought to invest in the really good extra tall tomato towers from Gardner's supply.
I also want to get their cucumber trellis, which is more of a priority. I can make do with my cages, but I don't have a cucumber trellis. I will be making pickles this year. Being able to grow cucumbers up means they will take up less real estate in the garden. Also it means they are more likely to be straight, which is better for making pickles. I want to do a gallon of half sours this year and you really have to get those at just the right size. Having them up off the ground means you are more likely to spot them before they get too big.
It has been really nice to be able to work in the garden again. I feel productive. I spent a fair amount of the last six months feeling pretty useless. Some days I was too sore to move and most other days I was too sick to do a thing. Enbrel has really changed my life for the better. It's only been three doses and look at me go.
Getting some sunlight has been great, too. I so hope this continues. I'd like to have a great garden season without petering out a couple months before I the garden does. Hopefully there will be no big fires this year, either that make it so I can't spend time outside during the hottest part of the year.
This garden season is going to be important. We will be canning and freezing a lot. Food prices may skyrocket due to all the flooding in the food producing states and we want to be able to grow and preserve as much as we can so we are less susceptible to those price increases. Being on the west coast it might not be as bad for us since WA, OR, and CA grow a lot of things that were hit hard, but if that food ends up getting diverted to the other states because the farmers can get better prices, then who knows?
Are you preparing for the upcoming increase in food prices? What are you doing to make sure your budget can handle it?
It rained all day so I didn't get any gardening done. Actually, I didn't get much of anything done. I did take DD to the doctor and DS to the gym and I read a lot. This is the first time since I got so sick that I have been up to reading for a decent length of time.
My new regimen of eye vitamins seems to be working quite well. I take 5000 IU of vitamin A, 450 mg of vitamin E, 200 mcg of selenium, and Bilberry Ginkgo Lutein complex. The spots had been getting darker again for a while, but they are back to a light yellow/brown and are far less noticeable. I don't know that they are smaller, but when they aren't black they don't seem to interfere so much with things like reading.
I took my third Enbrel shot tonight. Again it seemed like things weren't as good after the first five days, but that could just be soreness from gardening. The brain fog seems to be gone, though. I have more energy, but not as much as I'd like to have. I feel capable of doing things, though. I have to remember to call the mail order pharmacy for the next set of shots in about 5 days. I found out my co-pay for the drug this month is $30. Not bad for a wildly expensive drug.
I really need to schedule a hair cut. My hair is back to length it was when it was at its longest. It just grows so fast. But it is getting caught in my armpits when I raise my arms and then bring them back down and it pulls my hair and hurts. And DH sometimes leans on it and that is not good, either. I am thinking of cutting off about a foot and getting to one inch past my chin. Which will really be at my chin because it bounces up with my loose curls. I will basically be getting it cut to the length of my bangs by doing that. I have money in the personal care envelope, so it is just a question of making the appointment and doing it.
I go to the doctor tomorrow. I think I still have a sinus infection going on. The pressure is out of my ears, but I still have a pretty bad headache above my eyebrows and the back teeth and jaw hurt, which is also a sign of sinus infection. I think the ones in my face are also in play, but not as badly. I just want to get this thing cleared up so I can maybe enjoy the spring.
I spent $1.09 on a candy bar today, but that came out of my allowance envelope. I have been trying to avoid having sweets in the house, but clearly today was not going to be one of those days. I kind of felt like a PMSing teenager needing chocolate. Sometimes I swear I'm menopausal even though I had a hysterectomy in 2003 and went through all that stuff when I was 33 to 35. I wonder if that is even possible because if I were normal, this would be the age I would have started peri-menopause. Like I need that on top of all my auto-immune issues.
I tried the cheese wrap today. It is called Folio's and it was the Parmesan one. Apparently they make a cheddar cheese one, too. I did find out some more info about them. They are only available in west coast Costco's, but they are available nationwide at Aldi's, though not really because Aldi is not a nationwide chain.
I used one wrap, 2 slices of deli turkey, some rather hot stone ground mustard, and some cucumber slices. It was great and surprisingly filling for its size. I imagine after swimming I would need two, but on a normal day one is fine for lunch. I did add more cucumber slices on the side, though.
I have found some youtube videos on how to make your own Folio's, which I may try, as homemade would be cheaper, but if it is too fiddly to make, I don't mind shelling out for these, because they are good and it makes my life a little easier.
I am pretty tired out, but I am trying to post more often. While I'd like to post daily again, it seems to be more than I can do, but five days a week seems like a good goal to aim for.
Today DS and I worked in the garden We cleared one bed that is 24 feet by 2 feet and my mom had cleared the twin of this bed for about 8 feet this morning. I want to try to get the second one done tomorrow. I hope those two beds are enough for all the onions, but I may need to clear another bed for them.
My knees and ankles are pretty sore from being on them so much today, but my bank isn't too bad. I mean, I feel it, but it isn't tweaked out. Maybe because I only worked for an hour and paused often to stretch and do waist twists.
Yesterday we signed up for the gym membership. I think I'll go to family swim tomorrow and just do some pool walking and maybe a couple laps. I need to build up some strength. I will start off pretty easy. I don't want to overdo things. It will be nice to be in the water for a while and then use the hot tub. I think I miss the hot tub most of all. Maybe I'll use the sauna, too. It might just bake the last of this cold out of me.
Have any of you tried those cheese wraps from Costco? It's a tortilla-shaped wrap that is just made from cheese. I bought some a couple weeks ago and forgot about them. I am going to do some turkey and bell pepper roll ups for lunch tomorrow, and cut them into pinwheels, because I like my food to be fun sometimes. I had planned to do a stir-fry, but I think I will be too tired tomorrow.
I hope it is good, because then I could have a "tortilla" at a meal besides dinner. I only eat high carbs once a day. I don't know if these would warm up, though. I think they are meant to be eaten cold. But I could put fajitas in them and taco meat. And my chorizo con heuvoes.
Well, I best toddle off to bed before I turn into a pumpkin.