Home > Archive: November, 2020
Archive for November, 2020
December 1st, 2020 at 05:21 am
The new mattresses came on Friday. We ended up going with the regular Purple mattresses. It has made a tremendous difference for all of us. I haven't woken up with stiff shoulders since. They are still a little sore, but I can move them easily enough and raise them over my head without pain. Also the side of my thigh that I lay on the most is no longer going numb or getting what I like to call fire ants. It is beyond pins and needles because it burns. And finally, the muscle I pulled on the right side of my back is no longer awful. It still twinges a bit when I reach for things and I have to be careful, but just sitting doesn't hurt anymore. The chiropractor will be back from his vacation tomorrow, so hopefully a good adjustment will finish the job.
I did have to order a set of boxsprings, though. I got some steel ones off Amazon and they shoud be here by Sunday. Otherwise, with just the platform, I am down so low I am having trouble standing up, because my knees go above my hips just sitting on the bed. And because of my wrists and fingers I have trouble pushing or pulling myself up from that low. I guess that is the difference between an 8 inch mattress and a 16 inch mattress, though. The box springs is 7 inches so I'll almost be at the same height again with it, but that extra inch will not be missed because it was just a tiny bit too high before.
I am also getting more restful sleep for the past 3 nights according to my fitbit. I definitely don't feel like I am tossing and turning anymore and am getting 8 hours at least at a stretch. I will update on all of these things again when I have been sleeping on it for a month, but since I am already feeling so much better, I have to say I think these mattresses were well worth the money. Everyone else is very happy, too. All told, we spent $4300 on four mattresses, mattress covers, five pillows (and these we've had longer a week longer and are amazing), the box springs and sheet sets for all the beds. That was with the special sale they were on, too, for early black Friday. They have a ten year warranty.
It's a lot firmer than I am used to, but maybe that has been part of the problem all along. I felt I needed softer mattresses because of all the aches and pains, but maybe they were causing many of those aches and pains. It is nice to not have a wallow in the bed anymore, too. I think softer mattresses are more prone to wallows forming after a couple years.
It was a lot to shell out, but if it means I don't hurt constantly all day long, just intermittently, it would have been worht it at full price.
December 1st, 2020 at 04:36 am
Since 11/20/20 the retirement account has gone up $929.03, $220 of which was contributions.
$39,848.76 Total Retirement (minus company stock)
$151.24 to go to hit $40K. I hope things continue to climb so we can make up some more of the lack of progress that there was due to the Covid lockdowns earlier in the year. And I hope the new lockdowns don't make it all tank again.
November 27th, 2020 at 10:19 pm
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_300.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
__71.99 Life Insurance DH
__60.46 Life Insurance Me
_100.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
_100.00 Emergency Fund
1600.00 Mattress Fund
$3146.04 Total Money Out
November 27th, 2020 at 10:13 pm
$8639.84 Balance Forward
+_100.00 Amount Added
$8739.84 New Balance
November 27th, 2020 at 04:05 am
It was a long day, but I am glad it is done. Thanksgiving went pretty well despite Mom's early day sniping. She actually behaved quite well during dinner and was verbally thankful for all my efforts. The gluten free stuffing was so good. I was worried, I'm always worried when I try something new, but it worked and everyone loved it, including my Mom and sister. And the from scratch gluten free gravy came out really, really well.
I've taken all the turkey off the bones, and have gallon bag of white meat, one half gallon bag of dark meat, and one bag of bones to make stock with. I have two large takeout soup containers full of gravy and one full of pan drippings for making more gravy. I have enough mashed potatoes and stuffing for two more dinners for the whole family or several individual homemade tv dinners. All the corn got eaten and only a small amount of green beans were left.
Tomorrow we will have leftovers as is and then I think I will make turkey taquitos, turkey enchiladas, turkey soup, and leftover turkey tater tot casserole on Saturday. Some of those will go in the freezer for future meals.
MIL didn't end up making it in. She didn't sleep well and decided she just wanted to stay home and rest. That's mostly what I wanted to do today, too. I got the stay at home part. But the food was sooo good. I have really learned to make gluten free yummy after a year of effort. It was worth it, but I don't think I even want to move tomorrow. We'll see if I even can.
I think I forgot to mention, I completed my Christmas ordering yesterday. It is nice to have that done. Now to hope everything actually arrives on time.
November 27th, 2020 at 12:10 am
I finally had a moment to sit down and breathe. It's been a crazy couple of days with doctor appointments and trying to get the house in order. Well, half order, half chaos. Yesterday I made desert and the really cool thing was I made my own pumpkin puree from a sugar pie pumpkin. I just put the whole pumpkin in the Instant Pot, set it for 12 minutes, did a natural release for 5, and then a manual release.
The pumpkin was so tender I was able to cut it with a butter knife and then very easily scrape out the strings and seeds. So much easier than trying to do it the traditional way. I put the pumpkin in the blender with a half cup of water and pureed it to the perfect consistency. It was nice to have that option as I haven't been able to find canned pumpkin in months due to the shortage. I ended up with enough for my desert and enough to put in the freezer for Christmas to do it again and then my daughter ate the last 1/2 cup.
I used Snickerdoodle gluten free cereal (Safeway store brand) to replace the graham cracker crust for my pumpkin cheesecake bars and they came out beautifully. They taste really good, too.
Also last night and baked a loaf of gluten free bread and then combined that with a store bought loaf and tore those up to have ready to make the stuffing this morning. I got that done first thing and into the bird. It got into the oven around 1:00 p.m. Should be done by five. I finally got about 8 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes peeled, cut up, and in the Instant Pot. I love making them there. It is so much easier than boiling them on the stove and having to babysit them. The mash very easily, too, much easier than just boiled. They should be ready by the time the turkey comes out and I make the gluten free gravy.
And while I'm making that I can heat up a quart of our home grown, home canned green beans and a can of corn. I don't get super fancy anymore with Thanksgiving. We've streamlined. We don't do rolls when we already have bread stuffing. We don't do sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes. We don't do cranberry sauce. We don't do ham. I make one desert, cheesecake bars, not 4 kinds of pie (pumpkin, chocolate cream, key lime, and blueberry) and two types of fudge, and no fruit plate just little oranges, and no veggie plate. It's just too much when I have no help except DH. And no one seems to miss all the extra effort.
In about a half an hour I'll need to get back to it, but right now it is nice to just sit and relax for this little while.
November 21st, 2020 at 11:41 pm
We sent the last two rabbits off to a new home today and are now animal free for the first time in a decade. I'm not sure this place qualifies as a homestead anymore, just a huge garden now. But whatever, it is nice to no longer be tied down. We can take a family vacation again if we so desire without one person having to stay home to care for the animals. It is a nice sense of freedom and one less stress to deal with. And less stress is good in a house with seven people in it.
My mom is making noises about having chickens again, but if she does they will totally be her responsibility. We aren't having anything to do with it. I'd really rather not have them as they tear up the yard and take away from the garden space and their feed attracts rats. I think my mom forgets that. I also think she forgets what she is and isn't capable of anymore, but again, she'll have to relearn that the hard way. And people will always take laying chickens off your hands.
It'll be nice not to have those feed costs anymore. Although they had narrowed significantly with only two rabbits, now they will be totally gone and I can remove from the budget. We were spending maybe $35 in a three month period, so it wasn't a ton, but that is still $140 a year that can now go somewhere else.
We ordered our new mattresses directly from Purple since they were having early black Friday sales. Not sure when they will ship, but they'll get here when they get here. Can't be soon enough, though, with the way my fibromyalgia has been lately. We also went ahead and got the pillow/sheets bundle, because you get quite a discount with those if you buy a mattress. Since the mattresses do not take those huge deep pocket sheets that seem to be all you can find anymore, I felt that ones that actually were guaranteed to fit properly were the way to go. We had been planning for everyone to get new pillows for Christmas as well.
MIL gave us some money to go towards the mattresses and that combined with the $1000 I saved was enough to cover it all, so once these three arrive, all four of us will have new mattresses. DS got his a while back. I'm glad MIL gave us the money or it would have taken a long while to save up enough for all of us. I would have only been able to get one now.
I do need to start ordering Christmas gifts. DD and DS are each getting a new comforter and a waterpik for Christmas. I need to figure out what to get MIL. I know what I am getting my Mom, a 4 piece setting of salad forks, because she's lost several over the years and it is her preferred fork to eat with. DH and I are putting our money for ourselves towards a propane grill. DH also put his birthday money towards this and I will put mine in in February. We are also going to put in the money his mother gives us for Christmas. That should give us a total of $1200 after my birthday. More if I put my birthday money from MIL in.
I have no idea if that will be enough for what I want, but I think it should. We want a big enough grill that we can cook enough for a family of four on it at once and not in turns. I also want a burner and a side table, storage underneath, and a place to attach a smoker in the future if we chose to do so. If it is not enough, then we will just have to save longer. And if it is more than enough than it will go into another savings goal.
I like to cook outside in the spring and summer and early fall, but only having a charcoal grill can make it a lot harder. They take a long time to get going and then you have to babysit them while they die out. Propane is on and off, just like that. While I do prefer charcoal for taste, it is just so inconvenient. We'll probably use it for burgers and hotdogs, but for serious meals like steak, zucchini, onions, and corn on the cob, propane will be the way to go to get it done quickly. If the object is to just not heat up the house when it is hot, this is the best solution.
I will be ordering some LED net Christmas lights. I want to do five different colors for our five bushes in front of the house. They are more expensive than regular, but they last longer, the bulbs don't tend to blow, and they are prettier, brighter colors. We bought some last year for the deck and they just looked so much better than the old kind. I think Christmas will be subdued for a lot of people because of Covid lockdowns, so I want to be a cheery spot in the neighborhood for people to enjoy as they drive by.
I took my frozen turkey out of the fridge to thaw yesterday. It is 25 pounds so it needs this long to be thawed by Thursday. I wasn't really sure if I was even going to do Thanksgiving this year, but the prednisone the rheumatologist put me on really seems to be helping. I hope I can make a gluten free stuffing that tastes as good as the regular stuffing I usually make. It will be disappointing if I can't. I will be working on my bread recipe over the next couple days. I'm close to getting a perfect bread machine gluten free loaf, so there is hope.
November 20th, 2020 at 05:23 am
The retirement accounts have done really well the last eleven days. They have gone up by $1,093.40 in that time. There was one contribution of $220. The rest is profit. It has been a good couple of weeks. I don't know how long this will last, but I hope it continues and we can recover some of the losses from standing still for most of the year. Stupid pandemic. So the new total is $38,919. 36. $40K is getting close.
November 14th, 2020 at 01:42 am
Sorry, the column line breaks are going to be obnoxious on this one since there is no way to take them out. The website is annoying me to no end today, especially since they have somehow disabled my AdSense on here and didn't care to respond to me when I asked them about it. I bring in a lot of traffic to this site, look at my hit count, and now I'm not even getting my tiny fraction of ad revenue from it. I really want a viable alternative to here, but I hate the idea of having to build my base up all over again from scratch. I've built it since 2006 and I've worked pretty hard at it.
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_300.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_200.00 Car Insurance Fund (Includes catch up amount)
_261.50 Car Insurance (Policy change with third driver)
_100.00 Spending Money Adults
_120.00 Allowances Kids
_200.00 Christmas/Gift Fund
_100.00 Clothing Fund
_436.00 Emergency Fund
$3172.98 Total Money Out
November 14th, 2020 at 01:26 am
There was not much many left in the grocery envelope this time around as I bought a lot of food for canning, but there was some to add to the freezer envelope. We will get there bit by bit.
$858.00 Beginning Balance
+_29.00 Amount Added
$887.00 New Balance
November 14th, 2020 at 01:14 am
$8203.84 Beginning Balance
+_436.00 Amount Added
$8639.84 New Balance
I really hate the fact that I can't take line breaks out, even if I do it in Word first and transfer it. At first we could. It makes the column of numbers take up way too much space this way and it looks stupid. Anyway, it feels nice to be able to start building this fund up again.
November 11th, 2020 at 06:06 am
Yesterday I canned 14 more quarts of potatoes (and I mislabled them with today's date, but what are you going to do? I washed up the jars and tops today so they won't be sticky in storage. They didn't feel sticky, but I don't take any chances. I have enough of my garden potatoes left to do 7 more quarts and that will also fill my potato shelf. Then I will start on carrots and parsnips. I am switching to the single decker canner instead of the double decker, since I will be doing smaller loads from here on out.
DD went to the eye doctor today and the bulging optic nerves have stopped bulging so much. She lost 20 pounds in six weeks, so we are thinking the water retention was what the issue was, because she had ballooned up because of it, and she is out of the danger zone now, but she is to follow up after a while just to be on the safe side.
No more doctor appointments until Monday when we will go down to Virginia Mason to meet the new endocrinologist and then spend the night and go to the liver specialist on Tuesday. I am glad my nephew, my sister, and my son will all be here with Mom, though.
We are trying to sell the last two rabbits we have, but Facebook hates animal sales and censors posts on them. You have to be very careful how you word things. Even if you don't say a price they automatically throw out animal photos to be checked. It's a farm group. Farm sales should be allowed. It is no way, shape, or form like a puppy mill, but that's how they treat it. I hate their censorship. I wish MeWe would take off, but I don't think it is going to.
I am going to look into Rumble as an alternative to Youtube as well. Every time the algorithm starts working for me, they change it, and my channel just gets kicked back down. It makes it hardly worth the effort, especially in the off season.
Tonight for dinner I made beef stew with celery, onions, and potatoes, with gluten free flour for the gravy. I was out of carrots. And had two yellow kiwis. Those things are amazing. I like them way more than green kiwis and I like those a lot.
We haven't spent any money for the last few days, but I will be tomorrow morning when I buy the carrots and parsnips. I need 8 pounds of carrots and 8 pounds of parsnips. Then on Friday when it is payday I will buy some more to do. I haven't gone to the store since before the election so I have no idea what the shelves look like. I won't be able to can much at all next week as I will be wiped by our trip to Seattle I am sure. The season is winding down for me anyway, unless there is a terrific meat sale of some sort.
November 9th, 2020 at 12:12 am
I went to see my rheumatologist on Thursday while I was in the middle of one my worst RA/Fibromyalgia flares I've had yet. She decided to try me on prednisone long-term in conjunction with the embrel and hydroxychloroquine I already take. I started it Friday morning and by the time I took the second dose Saturday my swelling and pain had already started to go down. By this morning my hands felt almost normal. They still tremble, but they are so much more functional and the pain has reduced tremendously. I haven't seen my fingers this small in a few years.
She's started me on 10 mg for two weeks and then I can move up to 20 mg. I will be seeing her again on the 23rd and we will go from there. I really hope this is the answer. I feel so much better in my body right now, it's like it isn't even mine. The flare is definitely over.
As for making changes to my diet, I have stuck to portion sizes for the last 3 days and I am off the caffeine again. I have been making sure that I drink 3 of my waterbottles a day. My waterbottle holds 32 ounces. I would like to get to 4 of them a day now that water is the only liquid I am drinking.
Today I am making a new step of controlling my high carbs to one meal a day, and then from there I will work towards only have 60 grams of high carbs a day. Right now my plan is one fruit serving and one higher glycemic carb vegetable serving with my protein and low glycemic carb vegetables at dinner. Tonight's plan is chicken sausage with bell peppers and onions and some fresh pineapple. The onions and pineapple being higher glycemic and the peppers being lower. Breakfast was 2 eggs and half a cucumber and lunch was thinly sliced leftover pork (4 oz) over a bed of lettuce.
I feel a lot better now that I am eating better again, too. Caffeine really drags me down and makes me retain a lot of water and I can always feel the difference between being on it and being off of it. I also feel the difference when I eat too many carbs or too many grain based carbs. I will be going back to eating gluten free 100% of the time, too. I won't be eating any gluten free bread for at least a week, though. Just fruits, vegetables, and protein until things are firmly under control.
It is weird paying so much attention to portion sizes. I don't think I really realized before just how skewed my perception was of portion sizes. Now that I am measuring and weighing my food, it shows how off I was. I am trying to do a 1600 calorie diet and being more careful is helpful to that. I don't want to do anything more drastic than that. I don't need superfast weight loss, just weight loss.
I am using my fitbit app to track both food and water. Not really worrying about steps at the moment, but maybe in a week or so I can be more mindful of those as well. Incremental changes are more important to me than trying to do everything at once and then failing.
November 8th, 2020 at 01:22 am
Our retirement has gone up from $36,810.93 on 10/10/20 to $37,826.36, a difference of $1012.43. Only $440 of that was contributions, so we've made a profit of $572.43 in 4 weeks, during one of the most unsettled periods of our nation's history. I wish his work was contributing the to the 401K. I hate that they had to quit in July due to Covid in order to stay afloat. We would be further ahead. I will be glad when this awful year is over and I hope and pray with all I am that next year will be better and the promised vaccine will be successful and actually here.
Once I know how next year is going to play out in the paycheck department, I can decide whether or not to increase our contributions. Our portion of medical will be going up around $250 a month pre-tax. I don't know what that will shake out to until we get our first full January paycheck. The plan was to bump it up to 7% in January and then if that seemed doable, work our way up to 10% by adding 1% at a time and seeing how that shakes out. Of course, if the tax cuts are revoked, then that will be moot as well, because we will lose another $250 a paycheck due to that.
If things get better next year at DH's work, and I'm not sure they will with Biden's vendetta against the oil industry, but if they do and DH gets the raise that should have gone with his promotion and we get their contributions back, we should be able to handle 10% no problem. But if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, this would not be a worry. At least they have the biodiseal conversion contract at one of the oil refineries.
I know we have to step up our game somehow or other with retirement. It helps that mom has told us we are going to inherit the $650,000 house since we are the only ones who have helped her all these years (as long as we give my sisters $100,000 each that we can pay them interest free over time for their smaller portions of the inheritance), we will never have to worry about a place to live.
Although we would probably eventually sell this place and move away from the city, possibly the state, we would easily be able to buy a house outright with the profits elsewhere. We are looking at Montana because DH's work has a branch there that he works with now, and they have asked in the past about moving there. We just can't currently afford it. I would like to retire in a lower cost of living area that is less politically rabid to one side. Somewhere a little more centrist to slightly conservative, so more pro gun, has better water rights, and is anti-big gov. Montana is my favorite other state that I have ever visited and even though the winters are colder, the summers are amazing.
All this limbo makes me feel crazy.
November 5th, 2020 at 12:29 am
Yesterday I canned 14 quarts of potatoes, which is 2 lbs per jar. I peeled 29 pounds of potatoes. I always do an extra pound because you lose about a pound to peels. My hands were very sore afterwards, but are doing surprisingly well this morning. That makes the total jars of potatoes canned so far 21. I think I've got at least enough to do 14 more jars, possibly 21, but we'll have to see. There are lots of little ones that are too small to peel and will work better as roasted or fried.
I took DS to the doctor this afternoon and they finally gave him antibiotics for his sinus infection. Hopefully he will start to improve now. They should have given them to him the last week of September when he went in the first time, but his dad took him because I was too sick and his dad does not know how to advocate for him or tell the doctor's what they need to hear to get antibiotics. We know when we have sinus infections around here, they happen too often, but sometimes on call doctors don't know the history, so I have to be forceful in advocating.
I finished my course of antibiotics yesterday and I am glad to be done with it. I had to take the liquid form because the pills have red dye in them and I am allergic to red dye. But the liquid has artificial sweetner and it was awful. I don't react well to artificial sweeteners, but at least they don't intefere with my breathing or give me hives or cause migraines. Lesser of two evils, especially since I can't take penicillin and the Z-pack didn't work. I don't feel 100% better, but I do feel functional at a higher level than I've been. If I could just shake the cough I would be happy.
I am taking the day off from doing any work and just giving my body a chance to recover from all the canning work I've done in the last few days. Tomorrow I have an appointment with the rheumatologist and I am going to see if we can try a different medication. I don't think mine are working anymore. If she prescribes it with an anti-nausea med, I might be able to take one of the others I tried before that made me sick.
I am preparing to start on a new eating plan tomorrow. I am going to work on weight loss again. I am prepping the vegetables today so it will be easier for me to just get up and grab the proper food in the right portions. All of the junk food is out of the house and I'm not going to bring in any more for the next two weeks. And I'm going to go off gluten again, hopefully permanently. My focus will be primarily on controlling my carbs to 60 grams, eating more seafood (twice a week at least), keeping my vegetable intake up, and cutting out gluten for good. Also, I'll be cutting out sugar, but I will allow a small amount of honey while breaking the sugar addiction so the withdrawal isn't too bad.
November 3rd, 2020 at 01:24 am
Well, all of the ballots in my family have been registered as received by local officials. Ain't the internet grand? Right now 3 out of 4 have been marked as signatures verified. DS didn't get his in until Saturday night and the rest of us got them in on Wednesday, so that is probably why.
We have done all the grocery shopping we are going to do and now are prepared to hunker down for the week and/or month. I am hoping nothing bad happens, that people accept the results of the election with dignity and grace, but since that didn't happen last time, I have little faith it will happen this time. Hopefully it will just be tantrums again and not rioting, but the last several months with the riots springing up constantly, I again, just have little faith.
The downtown businesses are prepared to board up and will be armed on election day and the week following. I don't know if it will come here, but someone blew up a mailbox about 8 or 9 blocks away the other night so hard it ended up in four pieces, one of which landed on the roof of the home. I believe the mailbox was at the street and not on the house like many here are, but don't tend to be on that street since the houses are set so far back. I can't verify it through a news source, but the rumor on the neighborhood blog is they had a political sign in their yard. I really wish the reservation would stop selling dynamite to people who are not part of the tribe. It's really getting to be an issue.
I just want this week to be over. It's like sitting on the edge of my seat all the time and waiting for the country to explode or not explode. We are as prepared as we can be with the resources that we have.
I did get 14 quart jars of chicken canned and we will grind the rest of it tonight for the freezer. I still haven't gotten the garlic planted. My body is killing me from cutting up all the meat. I hate rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. It takes days to recover from things like this that are so simple for other people.
DH and I have started planning next year's garden. We want to build a large rectangular raised bed garden with enclosed fence. Two foot wide raised beds will horseshoe around the inside of the fencing and then the side with the door in it will have a sitting bench on one side of the door and a potting bench on the other with a sink I can hook a hose up to for rinsing vegetables and watering plant starts. Then in the middle section will be one long raised bed that you can walk all the way around. We will also fence over the top to keep out racoons and squirrels. That will protect everything but the strawberries from the deer and rabbits, too.
As for the strawberries, I want a hinged cage to go over those. One that will lift up from either side so I can pick one side, then the other, easily, without having to take the whole cage off to do it. Since it is an eight foot bed, taking the cage off is awkward for me to do on my own. With hinges, half can rest on the other half and then be pulled back down into place with very little effort on my part.
As for the inground garden, I'd like to expand it enough to double our potato yield and mom wants to double our corn yield. The green beans were just right this year, so that area is fine as is, just needs to be ammended and covered with a tarp for the winter. I think we will probably plant corn on the far side of the house in the narrow area between the house and the fence and that will be Mom's project. It gets a lot of sun there and should do just fine. Personally, I wouldn't waste the ground growing corn again if it were just up to me. We've grown it there before and the roots are shallow enough not to interfere with the French drain.
I will continue to grow my herbs in big containers, but next year it will be one type per container, except my big rosemary bush. I want it in the ground as a permanent feature. It is about 3 feet tall right now and quite tree-like. And basil will get two big containers. We have been self-sufficient on herbs that can be grown here for 3 years, but I can always use more basil, especially since it won't overwinter and the growing season for it is only 4 months.
I have been trying to sell the last two rabbits, both bucks, but winter is usually not a good time. Most people don't want to feed animals through the winter and want to aquire them in the spring before breeding time begins in earnest. They are quite beautiful so once people want them again, they should go quite quickly.