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Archive for November, 2022

Here a Budget, There a Budget, Everywhere a Budget, Budget

November 29th, 2022 at 04:22 am

I finished recording and in one case writing out a check (to Mom) for the November 11 budget and then closed out that budget and then I paid all the bills and attributed out the money for the November 25th budget and then closed it out as best as I could without actually being about to go the bank to take my cash draw.  But the important stuff has been done and it won't wreck anything in my finances or my life if the cash does not get taken out any time soon.

After I finished with that I set up my December 2020 Budget.  I thought I had done that, but no, I had not.  We should have hopefully dug ourselves out of our hole now, so that we can put $500 per paycheck into the medical fund this month.  I would like to do this for December and January and then drop it down to $500 every other paycheck until I have the medical fund where I want it and then we will stop contributing to it until I deem it necessary to do so again.

In January we will be able to start contributing to the EF again every month so long as we stick to the new 2023 budget.  We will be able to start contribting $500 a month to the beef fund.  Last time it was a total of close to $2000, so this time I plan to save $2500 due to inflation.  I will check in closer to butcher time, though, to see where things stand in case I need to save more.  I hope not.  That kind of defeats the purpose of buying in bulk, even for grass fed beef.

I need to set some money aside for house taxes and insurance, too and then go full bore on the EF and get it up to $30K, which is not where it was before, but is where I'd like it to be.  I've got a long row to hoe.

Two Days Somewhat Upright--Covid Hit Me Like a Freight Train

November 29th, 2022 at 02:50 am

I'd say I was starting to get back on my feet again, but that's not really true.  It's more like I'm able to get back into a chair again.  We all ended up coming down with Covid except Mom and it was worse than 2020.  I had the worst symptoms of everyone, but my nose and my son's nose would not test positive until Thanksgiving, so we were the last ones to get put on the medication.  At least that means DH was semi able to help me, since he was feeling a bit better, because I was so weak on two of the days I needed someone to help we walk to the bathroom and back.

The paxlovid has helped a lot.  The fireball body fever is gone, the lobster face and the pot it was boiling me in is gone, the cough down to my navel is more up in the bronchials and throat, the blinding headache has turned into a mild one, my ears are unblocked, my nose is unblocked and just runny, I'm only sleeping 15 hours instead of 22, and I can have a conversation, and hold both thoughts and plots in my head, which means I can watch a show again.  But I still sound like a foghorn, feel exhausted, fall asleep almost every time I close my eyes, and am still weak and can't be trusted to carry a bowl from the microwave to the tray table in my room, not even a plastic one.

Eating properly went out the window and I lost 5 pounds while sick.  The first two days was just chicken broth.  The third day was eggs and chicken broth.  Then it was Thanksgiving and that was the day I was positive.  That day I had a pudding cup because my throat was so sore, started my dose, and I slept the clock around, woke up, took my dose, and slept the clock around again.  After that I started eating half a can of soup once a day and a pudding cup once a day.  The medicine tastes bad and it takes the taste out.  Today I had half a sandwich with some actual protein with lettuce on it for breakfast and the other half for lunch.  That's all and that will probably be all.

I figure it is the best I can do for now.  I am trying not to make DH do too much for me.  He is trying to work from home.  I can make a sandwich and put it in a plastic container with a lid.  That way if I drop it on the way to my room it isn't ruined and doesn't need to be cleaned up.  I did, by the way, drop it, but I just pushed it to my room with my foot and alls well that ended well.  Sat down in my chair and picked it up with my reacher, because if I put my head below my knees, the dizziness is off the charts with this thing, and it was none the worse for wear.

Mom has been good about getting our prescriptions and she picked up some cans of soup and sandwich makings from the store.  I'm glad I had cash leftover from the previous payday, because the Thanksgiving payday was not going to happen.  I'm not even sure if we'll make it there at all this week.  Maybe on Friday.  DH is supposed to be safe by then to go out in public again, so if he feels up to it he can drive to the bank.  But he doesn't have to.

I have $160 in the beef fund (I used quite a bit of what I had in there when I was canning meat), I have $82 left in the grocery envelope, and I have $75 in the grocery envelope, and if we need to touch it, I have $550 in my allowance folder.  I would not want to touch that since I am saving up that money towards either a new computer or stuff for the garden, I haven't decided yet, since my computer is not that old.  It would obviously be replaced, but I know how that can go and would rather not do that.  Anyway, wiht the first 3 things, there is $317 we can tap, so that should be sufficient.

So we should be okay, whether we can make it the credit union this week or not.  Probably even if we can't make it there until the payday on the 23rd, so it only is an issue with cash, everything else is either writing a check or making an online payment or is an automatic payment.  Life in the 2020's, you know.

 

Thermostat Wars, Covid, and Weight Loss

November 22nd, 2022 at 05:50 am

I have about had it with my mom and the thermostat.  She keeps jacking the heat up to 75°F.  Last night it was like being in a sauna.  You know when you are in that stage when you are too tired to get up and half way through the house to go turn it down, but you can't really sleep because you are boiling so you lie there and lie there and lie there until you finally force yourself to get up and then turn it down to 70°F because it is 38°F outside, and 68°F makes my arthritis act up in the winter (but not the summer, somehow?).

Then the minute she gets up she jack it right back up to 75°F because she's cold.  And you want to know why she's cold?  Because she sleeps with her bedroom window open, because if she doesn't she's too hot to sleep.  Maybe the reason she is too hot to sleep, and so are the rest of us, is because she turns to furnace up to the temperature of when I first want to start using the A.C. in the summer.

During the day, if the rest of us are cold we put on long pants, long sleeved shirts, sweaters, and either slippers or shoes before we think about turning the heat up.  My mom will wear her short sleeved shirts and her mid-calf pants, maybe socks, maybe not.  She won't think about putting on better clothes so we can keep the furnace down.  If we tell her to put on a sweater, she'll put on the thinnest sweater she owns.  I mean, it's a spring cardigan that is so think you can almost see through it.  She has thicker sweaters.  When she sits in her chair all day watching tv she has a stack of throws next to her to pull over her when she gets cold, but she'd rather turn the heat up.

I just know when the gas bill comes she's going to throw the world's biggest fit about how high it is.  She only pays ten percent of it, too, but you'd think she paid the whole thing by how she squawks about it.  It's going to be bad, because natural gas prices have been skyrocketing even without her sudden need to this year to live in a sauna.  She keeps this up and that bill is going to double and we can't afford that.

I just had it out with her that if everyone else is in the house is having to put on tank tops and shorts, than she is wrong about the heat and she needs to turn it down so people can wear regular winter clothes and she needs to dress appropriately for the winter.  I know it is technically fall still, but the weather is winter weather here.  She even has a little space heater that will warm up just her area and doesn't use a lot of electricity that she refuses to use because that takes up electricity.

I can't get it through her head that natural gas is a lot higher than electric right now, that it's not two years ago when it was the other way around, and that she needs to realize how bad things are going to be this winter with gas prices.  Stuff flips around every so many years, and she says she knows this, but she still keeps jacking that thermostat up.  And it'll be us making up the difference on the bill because she's on a fixed income.

Okay, end of rant.  She just got me worked up today.

DH hasn't been feeling so good for the past few days.  He called me from Lowe's Saturday night and said he really didn't feel good.  He'd been fine when he left the house, but he had to stop after getting what we needed, wood glue, and couldn't go look and see if the had a couple more lines of Christmas lights that matched some we bought last year or to take pictures of any standees and text them to me.  I said fine, get the glue and come home.

By the time he dragged into the house he looked like a different person.  He insisted on fixing the wooden railing that he broke that leads up the short set of stairs from one part of the house to the other and then I made him go to bed.  He's been in there pretty much since except to eat and he's barely been eating.  A couple cans of cream of mushroom soup, a can of chicken noodle, lots of water.  And sleeping otherwise.  We had a couple covid tests on hand so I had him take one and it came back positive.  So I took one and it came back negative, but my nose had some blood in it that got on the swab which can cause a false negative.  I've just been dragging hard since yesterday, but I don't seem to have any symptoms but extreme fatigue.  But the kids seem to be going downhill now, too.  And we have no more test kits and I am too tired to drive to go get some.

DH is going to call the doctor's office tomorrow and see what he needs to do, since it is early enough to get on the Covid meds still, and they will probably want to do their own rapid test to confirm and then if they do and it does, I will call them, too, and ask if I should still come in for my appointment on Wednesday about blood sugar testing or wait and make an appointment for the week or two weeks after Thanksgiving.  If so, that'll give me a little more time to lose weight.

And speaking of weight I have lost ten pounds.  Today was a bit difficult because I was dragging so hard I did not want to cook.  I resorted to instant mashed potatoes, microwaving a pack of gluten free brown gravy, using a frozen steamer bag of broccoli, and dumping out a jar of chuck roast into a bowl and warming it up and calling it good.  It was not the most gourment of meals, but it had protein, low carb veg, and starch.  I refuse to give up on my nutrition now that I have got my diet back under control, though.

No fruit today.  I had grapes the past two days with dinner, just 12, and it just felt like I was eating straight sugar, within 5 minutes I felt light-headed and dizzy and like I needed to go lay down before I fell down.  So maybe it is just the grapes and I need to try something else, or maybe it is fruit entirely.  I will try a half cup of blueberries tomorrow with my dinner.  If they trigger it again, I think fruit will just have to be a very rare thing.  I can get everything fruit would give me from bell peppers and tomatoes and squash anyway.

We have cancelled our Thanksgiving.  I may make it on Saturday or Sunday if I am feeling up to it, but Thursday is out of the question.  It is too much work right now to do alone and I can't even drive to the store to buy the bread for the stuffing and I don't feel up to making 4 loaves of bread, either.  3 for the stuffing, because the loaves are smaller, and 1 to eat, because we are out of bread.  I don't even feel like walking out to the garage to get potatoes, I'm so tired.

Well, that's about it.  Good night, everyone.  I'm going to bed.

And the Medical I$$ue$ Because There are Always Medical Issues

November 13th, 2022 at 06:43 am

Just skip this one if you don't want to hear about my kid's upcoming surgery or what new thing I'm facing with my health.

My son has a surgery scheduled on Valentine's Day with an ENT at Virginia Mason to try to rebuild the part of his nose where the cartilage has collapsed.  I can't remember if I talked about this before or not, but depending on whether the doctor can harvest enough of his own cartilage to transplant or if he has to use artifical cartilage he should see a 40% to 80% improvement.  Even 40% will be such an improvement.  So his surgery will probably hit the 2/3 of the deductible right there as well as the out of pocket max for regular and specialist, although we will probably have another $1000 we have to max out for one of us because the family max is $3000, but the personal deductible max is $2000.  It's a weird system.

At least $3000 of that will be covered and I'm hoping we can save the rest in the medical fund between now and then.  Right now I've only been putting enough in to cover our monthly output, because we've had so much monthly output.  DH and his crowns,  DD and her cavities.  Our dental sucks.  Vision isn't is pretty good unless you are nearsighted and farsighted and have an astigmatism.  Raise your hand if you are me.  And we were wasting so much money over the summer and early fall while I was too sick to cook or shop and the guys were pretty much unwilling to and I was too weak to reorder their thinking.

But I'm well now. Or am I?  (Cue unsettling move music here.) Dun, dun, dun.  I got my fasting glucose results back.  139.  It should be between 70 and 100 mg/dL.  Now last time it was 124 which is the high range of 100 to 125 where they try to monitor it with dietary changes and exercise, but of course between my fall and being sick I could barely get out of bed for more than half an hour and on the days that I could it was to walk outside and tell my son what to pick and what to water and then sit in a chair to get some sunlight if it wasn't a scorcher.  I couldn't do much else before crawling back into bed.  And I certainly didn't eat right with all that takeout.  At least my choelesterol is really good.

So now that I have finally kicked that miserable illness out the door, I'm really facing diabetes.  I found out yesterday when my labs came back and I'll see the doctor again on the 23rd where I will start tracking my blood with a monitor.  I may not be diabetic, but I've had some symptoms for a while, so I could be.  This is the thing that is motivating me.  I have watched people die of this.  I don't want to die of this.

So I got off the phone with the receptionist, finished making dinner, and I had my spaghetti dinner, only instead of having 3 cups of noodles, I took 1, and had 4 meatballs instead of 3.  There was a diced zucchini in the sauce, maybe 2 cups worth, and I also made broccoli and there were salad fixings, so I had both of those.  I felt hungry around midnight, but I drank a bunch of water and it passed, so was probably just thirsty, then went to bed at one.  I'm trying to get to bed earlier, but I was going to bed at 3 before the time change, so I've progressed by an hour. I am getting up earlier.  Maybe no caffiene, very little sugar, and eating right will help.

Today I carefully planned out my food.  There are two methods of eating for diabetes.  One is almost completely vegetarian, which I know makes me binge because of fruit, and also I am allergic to lectins so beans, lentils, and almost all legumes are out of the question, which really limits you on protein, and one is controlling your carbs, but making sure you get just enough of them.  The second is the only one that I have ever lost a substantial amount of weight on.

I used some of the sausage from our pig (no sugar) to make two small patties for breakfast, each 3 oz on the food scale.  I had one soft-boiled egg, and half an English cucumber.

For lunch I had 5 oz of ling cod fish brushed lightly with melted ghee (because I can't stand oil on fish), seasoned with salt, pepper, and sazon and put in a foil packet with zucchini and sprigs of thyme, some sage leaves, some flatleaf parsley, some oregano and some finely minced garlic (home grown) and a couple tbsp of water, and placed in the oven to steam.  It was so good.

Then dinner was where I got the majority of my carbs for the day from.  I had two 4 oz beef kielbasas from this really clean brand Kiolbasa, 1 yellow potato diced, seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme, and tossed with 2 tbsp of filtered bacon grese since I was cooking at 400°F (205°C).  I was planning to have some of the leftover broccoli but I ended up knocking it on the floor.  My hands just let go sometimes.  I have twitches.  I decided screw it, and made a big, big salad instead.  I had 3 tbsp of ketchup on the potatoes and 3 tbsp of 1000 Island dressing on the salad.  So I had 63 grams of carbs not counting the salad and the other green vegetables.  I was told to aim for 60, so if I had only done 2 tbsp of salad dressing I would have it.  But close enough.

I am steaming some hard boiled eggs tonight in my little cooker so I will have them if I need to snack or even if I don't feel like making breakfast.  Just having an egg or two to eat will wake up my brain.  I can't afford not to have regular meals anymore just because I don't want to eat breakfast in the morning.

I have gotten into some really bad habits.  Pepsi first thing in the morning, when I'd been off it for so long.  That alone probably has driven my glucose up, even with fasting that morning.  Eating way too many empty carbs, junk food, doughnuts, chocolate.  The only thing I wasn't eating was potato chips, because ever since Lays started using oil other than sunflower oil (Ukraine/Russia war) their chips don't taste the same and I don't like them, so I was off chips completely except if I made pico de gallo, then I'd eat Tostitos.

Anyhow today is day one with no Pepsi, very little sugar, only what's in the ketchup and dressing and those are 5g and 3g per tbsp respectively.  I'm sure I'll be going through withdrawals, but since I am already having painful symptoms from my pneumonia vaccine, and where the lady who did my labs left a massive bruise where she blew the vein in my arm trying to get into my vein and then blew the one in my hand with an even worse bruise and then had to call someone else to find a vein in my other arm which took her five minutes, what's one more?  I can handle it.  Just call me a pincushion.

I am not worried about fat.  The doctor said not to worry about fat, just carbs.  He said that animal sources of fat were actually better for me than plant derived fats, but olive and avocado oils have other health benefits and should always be included in one's diet according to the most recent studies.  I mean, I'm not to go eating a cup of butter or anything like that, but lard, or tallow, or bacon grease in one or two tbsp increments is fine.  And no deep frying anything.  I've always felt that way about animal fats, though.  I've been reading anecdotal stuff on it for years.  Plus all Eskimos survived on was whale blubber and whale meat and they were healthy.

I feel better, though, after one day of eating right.  My brain felt less foggy today.  I wasn't wanting to eat constantly, only when I'm hungry, which is at meal times.  I didn't feel like my blood sugar is crashing.  I didn't feel dizzy or light-headed at all today.  I feel a lot more tired at the end of the day, like I'm ready to go to sleep at a decen time and not late.

I don't know if my insurance will cover a glucose monitor or even how much they cost.  If they cover it, it won't cost anything.  And if I can drop it my number down to where it belongs and get a good start on getting my weight down, maybe we won't have to do anything more.  I hate having to get shots every 4 weeks.  I don't want to do it daily.  I have no idea how much insulin costs, but I know it is expensive even though it shouldn't be. I know there is some sort of pill now, too.  But maybe I won't need anything if I do this right.  It's just going to monitoring for now.  Hopefully, I can fix this.

I'm not telling my mother.  I don't need her to be twitting me about my weight, just like she and dad used to do when I put on the freshman fifteen in college, or didn't lose my baby weight after giving birth to my second kid, or her alone in later years after dad died.  I don't need any negatives from her.  She's the reason I stress eat so much.  That and all the medical issues that arise in my family.

 

 

 

 

Retirement, EF, and Net Worth Major Milestone Goal Hit

November 13th, 2022 at 01:00 am

I am sorry for any typos in this.  My space bar is sticking and I don't have any compressed air to clean it out.  I think I've got them all, but I'm not sure.  Our retirement accounts are starting to turn around.  Don't get me wrong.  The IRA is still -18.04% for the year, because it plunged even lower than my last report, but it's come back up by a little over a thousand dollars. That's a loss of $2707.65 in an account we don't contribute to at all right now. It will have to climb a lot higher to erase that percentage and I don't think it can do it by year's end.

The 401K went from over -25% for the year to -13.59.  The loss for the year, only because we have been contributing, is -$9488.88.  We won't make up for that this year, either.  There are only four contributions of $1152.48 to be made, mostly from us, but some from the employer match.  Even if DH gets any over time, it won't be enough without a tremendous rise in the stock market.  I haven't been watching since August, though, because the whole year has been so awful, so I don't know what it was doing.  But judging by our contributions versus where we were at the end of August, it still ate half of them, so I'd say it wasn't the greatest.

Still it is up since the last time I changed my sidebar by $4920.33.  That brings the amount in retirement to $83,848.84.  I also transferred $1000 out of the emergency fund to fix a leak in the van's sunroof.  Never again will we have these on a vehicle we buy. This is the second time we have had to do this repair. I mean the van is 12 years old, but they should build it so this never happens.

When it rains hard the water leaks down into the seat belt wells and soaks them, so when you pull your seatbelt out it is drenched.  So it etiher goes against your jacket or sweater, so you have a wet piece of clothing or you keep towels in your car to put between you and seat belt which is not comfortable and kind of a distraction. And if it freezes really bad, like 17°F or less (-8.3°C), the seat belt will get frozen in the ice after it fills up with water during the day before the temp drops, whether it is rain or melting snow.  If we hadn't just shelled out over $1200 on vehicle maintenance and replacement filters and whatnot, we'd have had the money in our car maintenance envelope. But we did, so we didn't have it.

Anyway, that reduces the EF to $10,285.51.  Which means the total of net worth changes by $3920.33, going from $146,216.13 to $150,136.46.  So we have hit a major milestone goal for us, crossing the $150K barrier on net worth. This was such a long, long time coming.  I feel like we are lucky we even got here considering the last year, where everything that could go wrong with the economy, did go wrong.  So while it is amazing to see it, I'm still kind of scared it will disappear on me before the end of the year, and hoping like crazy it doesn't. But I will know we hit it once and that we will be able to hit it again somehow, some way, if we have to.  And know, as they say, is half the battle.

Color Me Exhausted in a Good Way

November 8th, 2022 at 01:19 am

Saturday, November 5, 2022

I really had forgotten what being well felt like and what it meant to be exhausted from working hard instead of simply existing.  It's a better feeling, a feeling of accomplishment, of pride in what you have done, even if, in the end, every joint in your body aches the same.  Still, this girl got stuff done.

In the morning I divided the last of the chicken bones into the two Instant Pots and got the broth going, cleaned jars, and set up my area, and had DH put the heavy double decker All American canner up on the stove because that thing weighs a lot, but you get what you pay for.

Then we went outside and did some garden work.  You will not believe me, but I did not want to run back in the house and get my camera, because my legs are barely working as it is and photos uploading are always a crapshoot around here anyway, but my darn yellow zucchini had a big old flower on it today.  And those tiny flowers that were on my pepper plants?  Those are now tiny peppers.  What on Earth, people?  Maybe I really should go get some green house plastic.  The pepper plants at least would survive all winter, I think.

Anyway, we got the tarp put down on the potato plot and we added four feet in one direction and two feet in the other to increase the size.  DH worked on taking out a tree stump that had been left in the way of where we want to build a raised bed next year.  He dug down to get as much of the roots as he could, but there was a tap root so he could only go so far, but he got out all the tap roots.

Meanwhile, DS dug out some wild blackberry canes while I cut them out of the climbing rose bushes.  I don't even know where they sprang up from.  We haven't had this variety of wild blackberries in our yard before, but our neighbor does.  This was nowhere near theirs though.  It was literally in the middle of the back yard.  We can't get all of it out, but without taking the roses out, which we will in spring to move them, but we should be able to dig them out then.  There wasn't too much of them and I will poison those if I have to.

I am not playing the wild blackberries are taking over my yard game.  I am already playing the keep the morning glory that the other neighbors let run rampant and won't keep in their own yard so it runs all the fences in my yard and constantly crawls into my garden all summer out of my yard game.  I think next year I will poison those, too, neighbors nice hedges be darned if they get any on it.  I hate to poison, but there is no winning with either of these plants.  Morning glory should never be planted outside of a planter that is on concrete with no ability to get to dirt.  It is so invasive and impossible to control if you don't hack it back all summer.

My son has started drinking coffee again so he is saving the coffee grounds for me to bury in the raised beds.  I will do so as long as the ground isn't frozen.  We haven't had a hard freeze yet, but I am sure it is coming.  Well, that's about it for this update.  Still planning to post that payday report.  Just have so much other stuff on my mind.

Me from the future:  I forgot to post this on Saturday and just left it open with about 50 other tabs.  Glad windows didn't randomly decide to restart.

It's All About Food Again, Canning, Saving, Planning Freezer Meals, Prepping

November 5th, 2022 at 01:01 am

Yesterday, that is.  I put my nose to the grindstone, but I got it done.  10 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.  So I have 13 quarts and 6 pints of canned chicken.  One of my quart jars broke in the canner.  It was one of my grandmother's jars from 1949, so it lasted a long time.  Two bad it took 2 pounds of chicken with it.  I think I'm going to go through and weed those jars out and use them for dry food storage.  There aren't many left, but I don't want to take that risk.

While I was canning those I had two Instant Pots filled with bones, water, and seasonings, making chicken bone broth.  Pressure cooking for two hours is the equivalent of simmering on the stove for 24 hours or more, only you don't have to worry about evaporation and adding more water, just a bit of steam that comes out at the end.  I didn't get as much as I should have because my son wasn't paying attention when I asked him to fill them up to the max line and instead he just covered the bones, which is what we do when we make a whole chicken, but not what I do when making broth, which he's never done.  I should have checked, but I was so busy with other stuff, I didn't.  Not really his fault.  I know he has ADHD and was having a no focus day.

I still got a good amount of broth at 8 pint and a half jars and 8 pint jars, but I could have had almost double that.  I have enough bones to fill both Instant Pots again, so will be doing that and canning it tomorrow.  I was too wiped to do anything today.  I went to bed at 10:30 and slept until 11:07 this moring, waking up once at 6:30.  I was exhausted.

I did manage to get some of the dishes done.  I had to soak 8 cups, though.  I am not happy about that.  They all had milk residue in the bottoms so I know it was one of the menfolk.  Time for the rinse out your glass lecture.  It can never be the womenfolk since we don't drink milk outright and only consume it in stew, gravy, or loaded baked potato soup, and I've switched to using broth as much as possible instead of milk in the first two.

And I'm up for making a real dinner tonight, even though I am pretty sore from canning.  We've been going through my freezer dinners at breakneck speed.  I'm pretty sick of baked pastas and baked casseroles and rice under enchiladas, etc.  Today is just chicken, mashed potatoes (and gravy for those who want it, i.e. not me) and green beans.  Simple, but really good.

Broth canning isn't near as time consuming as chicken canning, so tonight I will thaw out a bunch of ground meat and tomorrow while it is in the canner I will throw together some meatloaves and some meatballs for the freezer.  I've been craving spaghetti, though, so I'll save out some meatballs for dinner either tomorrow or the next night.  Depends on how early I get the canner going, because if the stove is full I won't be able to cook spaghetti.

I found out that a restuarant supply store currently has chicken breast on sale for a box at $76, works out to $1.90 a pound.  I don't usually buy chicken breast, but I am out nearly out of the last batch of ground chicken I made, so I can grind it.  I am not up for deboning anything again anytime soon.  I just mix it in with my meatloaf and meatballs along with sausage and hamburger which have enough fat in them to counter the dryness of chicken breasts.

I can also make up my version of hamburger tater tot casserole, only I use homemade hashbrowns instead.  I have a lot of hamburger left from our steer and I want to buy another one in June or July, so we really need to be using it up, not just because we have it, but because we need the space in the chest freezer.  I can work tacos back into the rotation.  I can also can hamburger.  We haven't eaten very much pork from our half a hog either, so I need to work that into the rotation.

It's been forever since I made up a meal plan, just because we were eating takeout for so long and then freezer meals and crockpot meals that were basically pour and dumps, so I didn't have to think about real cooking.  But since I am finally well and truly well after the broad spectrum "if you stay on it too long it can kill you and also burst your achilles tendons," antibiotic, I should get back to real meal planning, especially before I make my Winco run and go to the restaurant supply store.

I also need to go through my canning jars tonight and see what I have left.  I keep taking my jars up to the kitchen and telling Mom they are for me to use the next day and then she keeps using them, so I will keep them down here until right before I can tomorrow.  I don't want to run out of jars and have to buy more, especially with my wide mouth pints.  She only has regular mouth pints, but when she runs out she takes mine. Oh, well, you can't argue with a stubborn 83-year-old.  Or it's not worth it anyway.

I'm off to gather my jars, have dinner, meal plan and freezer meal plan and then tomorrow shop accordingly.

 

Groceries in Bulk and Piecemeal

November 2nd, 2022 at 11:42 pm

I know I haven't posted my payday report for last payday yet.  I have it on the agenday.  This is more of a brain dump, rant, food prepping/canning to save money in the long run, sort of thing.

I went through the grocery ads online this morning.  I can't really do them with the paper in my hands anymore, becaues the mail delivery has gotten so bad that for an ad cycle that starts today, I have gotten them as late as next Monday, but it is usually Friday or Saturday.  They should be coming in the mail on Tuesdays.  I guess if they didn't have 20 pounds of straight to the recycle bin politician flyers to deliver for the past few months, not to mention Christmas catalogs no one ordered, maybe we'd get the rest of our stuff on time.

They didn't even deliver the mail on Thursday.  I know because Mom put out a letter to be deliverd on Wednesday night with the little flag up and the flag was still up at 9:00 p.m. and our letter was still in there to be picked up.  Then on Thursday we put the letter back out in the box and when it still hadn't been picked up by 6:30 p.m. took it back out and the mail showed up at 7:00 p.m.  That was annoying.  We didn't get any mail on Friday or Saturday and none picked up, so they are obviously not coming to even look if the flag is up for outgoing mail.

We ended up taking our letter to the post office on Monday, since we can't rely on our carrier.  Our mail is supposed to be delivered by 2:00 p.m. according to the delivery schedule and has been up until September when it started fluctuating wildly.  I put in a polite, but formal complaint, too.  It should not take me that many days to try to mail a letter, it shouldn't take that may days to get the grocery ads, and I'm not sure we're getting all of our regular mail, either.  I haven't got my statements from my one credit union that only does snail mail twice this year and Mom has had the water bill go missing once and the garbage bill twice.  So I mentioned that, too.  You hear about carriers just tossing mail when they don't want to deliver it.  I wish they'd toss the political flyers, not the real mail.

Anyway, back to the grocery ads, there weren't a lot of good sales.  I guess after two good weeks of sales I wasn't expecting much.  There were a couple of buy one get ones where they don't tell you the  price.  I don't pay attention to those, since they are usually full price, they just jack up the price of the first one so it covers the price of the second.  And I'm not going to make an extra trip to the store on the off chance I am wrong for a meat that I am iffy about to begin with.

So while that store did have a good salmon sale, it was for Atlantic salmon, which no, not when I live on the Pacific and that is so much better.  And a decent t-bone steak sale, but not when I have very good sirloin sale steak in my freezer.  There are decent produce items on sale, but I'm not sure it was enough to being me in.  They had good pork items, but since I have half a hog in the freezer we have barely made a dent in, there is no point in that.  So the main 3 stores are just meh this week.  I'll have to buy produce somehwhere, but that's all I need to buy.

Which means I'll be going to Winco.  I've been wanting to make it over there anyway, since I want to stock up on canned green beans and get 40 pounds of Roma tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce to can.  If they don't have 40 pounds available I will take 20.  I can get 20 more from another store if I have to.  I also want to get some fresh peppers to make some chili this week and they have the biggest choice in peppers, and some cilantro.  And they have bulk herbs and spices and wild rice blends.  And everything is just so much cheaper there with that kind of stuff.

I plan to go to TJ's as well, to see if they have turkeys yet.  No one is advertising turkeys and the one place I did see mention of it was with one store saying to order your turkeys now.  This would be a store that normally would be doing one of those things where if you spend $150 you'd get a free turkey by now.  So I'll look this weekend if they don't have turkeys.  I'll probably switch to one of the back up plans, either the Cornish game hen plan or the duck plan.

Yesterday was the last day of the .99/lb sale for chicken thighs.  It'd been selling out every day like crazy so every day we've gone it has already been wiped out by 9:00 a.m.  Mom got there at 7:30 a.m. when they opened yesterday and was finally able to get what I needed, which was 40 pounds or 8 value packs.  I figured I'd lose at least 5 pounds to skinning and deboning.  It filled 3 gallon sized Ziploc baggies, so maybe more than that.  At least I can use that to make bone broth.

It wasn't as bad with the chuck roast last week, which they at least had until 5:30, before they sold out, but .99/lb chicken is way easier to stock up on for some budgets than $3.99/lb chuck roast.  The butcher says people are really worried about the gas shortages and whether or not truckers will even be able to haul food next week the way things are going, so they are stocking up like crazy.  They are worried about even having fuel for their own gas stations over on the east coast by the end of next week for their store brand.  We are more protected here because of the refineries, but even so it'll come here eventually if things don't change soon.  Crazy times.

I spent from 9:30 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. skinning and deboning and cutting up the chicken for canning.  I ended up sleeping in, because I am on day 2 of caffiene withdrawal, but tomorrow I will get started on canning the chicken and getting a bag of bones in each Instant Pot.  I'll have one more bag of bones to do after that, but I will have some beautiful broth when I finish.  It should be 21 quarts or so, but I am not sure how I will actually divvy it up yet.  I know I want some in pints and some in 24 oz and some in quarts, so we'll see how it goes.  I might actually divide the bones up into four batches.  I think there is enough and then I could have 28 quarts' worth, however I do it up.

Pints are great if you just want to pop one, warm it up and drink it.  Doing that was great for me when I was so sick I couldn't eat.  All I could do was drink and barely that.  It got at least a little nutrition and hydration into me.  The 24 oz size is what I use in a batch of homemade enchilada sauce.  1 quart is what I use to make soup or to make skillet lasagna or sometimes 2 if I make a double batch.  Sometimes I will make my pasta in it if I am doing it in the Instant pot. It makes a fantastic macaroni.

I picked that cucumber finally and one green and one yellow zucchini.  The plants aren't dead yet, we haven't had a frost.  There are still a couple veggies growing really slowly.  The green beans did die when it hit 37, but they aren't planted two feet off the ground.  We are still having days in the 50's with a few sunny hours between rain showers, so I guess I won't give up on them until they give up on themselves.