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Archive for January, 2024

Meal Planning

January 22nd, 2024 at 07:53 am

I really want to stay on top of things this week, as there are a lot of appointments, so I am meal planning to make sure nothing gets away from me.  I have two things in the freezer that I want to use up, which are a ravioli lasagna and a meatloaf that I made up when I was batch cooking in the past.  I do have to check that they are good first, but if they aren't, I will just make fresh ones for dinners this week.

I will figure out breakfasts and lunches, but they tend to be repeats and we all kind of grab what is in the freezer, because I batch cook breakfast burritos and egg sandwiches, or eat cereal.  I will probably also pick at the chicken that doesn't go in Tuesday's soup for my lunches.  Most of the days will be gluten free, but not all of them.  While I can make gluten free pizza, it takes a couple more hours to make the dough than regular and I don't want to take that much time.  I'm pretty sure I have all the ingredients in the house and shouldn't have to set foot in the grocery store this week.  It would be nice to buy some fresh thyme for the chicken soup, though.  Nice, but unnecessary when I have dried.  As usual, order is subject to scrambling due to the whims of the cook (me).

Monday:  Instant Pot Chicken cooked underwater to make broth, roasted fresh root vegetables and zucchini (frozen), apples

Tuesday: Chicken noodle (gluten free) soup with celery, and leftover roasted root vegetables, toasted bagles with goat cheese, and salad

Wednesday: Meatloaf, fried home canned potatoes with frozen onions and bell peppers, home grown home canned green beans (2019), canned pineapple

Thursday:  Ravioli lasagna or regular salad, pull apart garlic bread, home canned pears

Friday:  Homemade Pizza with sausage, ham, pepperoni, ground beef red and yellow onion, zucchini, frozen bell peppers, mozzarella, homemade low sodium pizza sauce.  I will make my own individual little pizza that is mostly veggies, has less cheese, and has a small amount of meat on it and just seasoned ground beef so it doesn't have salt in it.  I might even do a cauliflower crust pizza.  Salad and home canned nectarines to go with.

Saturday:  Leftovers

Sunday:  Beef chuck roast, baked potatoes, green beans, oranges

Since Everyone Else Is...

January 22nd, 2024 at 07:17 am

I thought I'd update my pantry challenge, too.  I am cleaning out the freezer of convenience foods that I do still buy from time to time, but haven't made in a long while and they are getting to the end of the time where freezer burn will set in if they are not used soon.

To that end, tonight we had garlic butter shrimp (that box from Costco), frozen broccoli (that bag from Costco), and frozen corn on the cob that we froze last summer.  We dipped everything in the garlic butter sauce since there was so much of it left after cooking the shrimp.  And we had golden kiwis, which thankfully have lasted this long, but definitely needed to be eaten pronto.  Breakfast was breakfast burritos, lunch was a no go for me and everyone else had chicken salad sandwiches.

The night before that we did spring rolls, beef mandu, yakisoba, and frozen berries, also all from Costco.  Breakfast was homemade biscuits (with alternative baking soda and alternative baking powder that are not sodium based), folded eggs, and cheese.  They also had bacon.  Lunch for the others was chicken quesadillas.

And then the night before that we did bagel, ham, and cheese sandwiches, potato chips, oranges, and salad.  I did send my husband out to get salad fixings because I was tired of the frozen veggies and it is not like we can't buy anything.  It was the first day the roads were clear enough to drive and the stores had reopened after a snow drop of a foot.  And chips.  We had regular chips, but I needed my low sodium Tim's Thins chips.  The bagels, ham, and cheese are all from Costco.  I keep the ham and bagels on hand in the freezer and we had thawed them out the day before.  Well, not the cheese, it was in the fridge.  Breakfast was cereal, but I didn't eat it.  I did have lunch, which was homemade chicken soup, which the kids had.  DH had leftovers.

I don't remember the other days and I didn't write them down, but it was pretty similar.  I watched my sodium counts, though, because with a lot of these convenience foods the sodium is high.  Except for the day I rubbed everything in the shrimp butter and I felt that.  Gotta be more careful.

Weird Experience, Pricey C-pap Supplies, Weight Loss, Pantry Challenge

January 13th, 2024 at 01:37 am

You ever have just one of those weird days that is just kind of spooky?  I had my follow-up Echocardigram this morning and then went over to pick up my c-pap supplies.  When I got out of my car I heard my name shouted.  It was close, like in the parking lot, which is small.  Only it wasn't my name, it was my nickname, and it is pretty rare.  No one calls me that name but my mom, my dad, and my sisters.  My dad is dead, one sister doesn't speak to the family including her own kids, the other is working, and my mom was at home.

I looked all around me and even called out, "Yes?", but there was no answer.  I changed what I was called to my real name when I started sixth grade, so it was highly unlikely anyone from elementary school would have recongized me and if they had they would have come over.  But there was no one.  So I went in and got my stuff.

When I came out the door, I heard the word, "Go!" right in my ear and I swear it sounded just like my dad.  It stopped me in my tracks.  Again, there was nobody around, just me.  So I shake it off and get in my car, planning to go to the library next, because it will still be light out for an hour before the homeless people move in and park themselves on the steps and it will be too dangerous to go, so I can get in and out and find something to read and then go to the grocery store.

Plan in mind, I back out of my parking spot and happen to glance up at the marquee of the strip mall next door.  There's a new shop there and it's called, get this, Home Instead.  Now I am having a little freak out at this point, but I decide to go ahead and trust my instincts and go directly home.  I start on my usual route, which takes me past Another Way Outreach Center, which I drive by all the time, I mean come on, and I come up to the stoplight to make my usual turn, and it is red, and my gut is just saying, no take the other way, take the other way, take the other way, so I go straight and take the longer way.

I have no idea why, I got home safe and sound, nothing weird was going on at home.  Maybe I avoided a car accident or something.  Maybe it was all a coincidence.  But I've learned to trust these things, because the one time I didn't, it ended badly.  I'll probably never know.

As for the c-pap supplies, those are going to be $702 when they finish processing through the insurance.  Gotta love the deductible.  

I have officially lost 6.2 pounds since coming back from Seattle.  Thinks are doing well on the pantry challenge.  I had a migraine yesterday, so DH made me scrambled egg sandwiches, which is just the eggs on bread wiht butter and you fold the bread in half.  For lunch, I had the last of the beef stew.  I didn't eat breakfast.  Everyone else ate leftovers for lunch.

Tonight I will be making a kielbasa, shrimp, peppers, onions, and cabbage stir-fry.  Semi-spicy.  Not a jambalaya.  Rice on the side.  Chicken salad was for lunch, on tortilla or spinach wraps for everyone but me.  I had mine in steamed Napa cabbage that I used in place of a wrap.  Skipped breakfast.  Most of the time we are just not breakfast people.

Tomorrow?  Maybe baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans for dinner.  Lunch will likely be leftovers of dinner tonight or more chicken salad wraps.  Oh, wait, tomorrow is Saturday.  Maybe we'll do meatloaf or meatballs with spaghetti.


Pantry Challenge for Realsies

January 10th, 2024 at 07:38 am

Although we did do the pantry challenge for the first few days of January, I wasn't posting and then of course, I didn't do it while we were in Seattle, because how can you when you are away from your pantry?  And I didn't do it the last two days as we settled back in.  So I am integrating some leftovers in as well as cooking from the pantry now.  My MIL bought us Sushi last night, so...

Breakfast/Lunch was leftover sushi.  I don't get the raw kind, because I can't handle raw fish.  Lox is the closest I can get to raw salmon and I don't really even like that, although I can eat it.  I had six pieces left off 16 from last night's dinner, so that was my lunch.  I don't eat a lot because of being on the Ozempic.

Dinner was Beef Stew with potatoes and carrots.  I made a gluten free gravy for it with no salt.  I had a 3 cup bowl.  Then I had an orange and 12 chocolate chips.  That's all I will eat today.  I had as much water as my cardiologist allows.  I lost another pound this morning.

I have some breakfast sausage in the freezer tomorrow so I will fry that up and have it for the next few days with some cucumbers, but will be making breakfast burritos for the others tomorrow because we have a lot of eggs and sausage from our hog in the fridge.  Then for dinner I plan on making a stir-fry that includes kielbasa, frozen shrimp, red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, onion and green cabbage or possibly Napa cabbage depending on which needs to be eaten first.  And then basil herb brown and wild rice from a Lundgren's box mix.  Or maybe Lundberg.  It's organic.  My box mixes are getting close to their expiration dates.  I think I will either have half a mango, which is finally ripe, or a kiwi, also.

I need to sit down tomorrow and plan out the rest of the week.  The bell peppers need to get used up as they are starting to wrinkle, so probably something with those.



Back from Virginia Mason Seattle and the Lap of Luxury Hotel

January 9th, 2024 at 03:29 am

It's been a long few days, but my daughter made it through her surgery and hospital stay with flying colors and her recovery is going very well.  Her hormone levels have already stablized and I haven't seen her this emotionally stable since she hit puberty.  She will never have to worry about bleeding out again and she did get to keep her ovaries, but everything else is gone.  Since she can't take replacement hormones due to one of her other medical conditions, this is a good thing.

I got more exercise than I ever care to have again traipsing all over that hospital, because nothing is easy to get to from anywhere else.  I am just glad I had my walker.  I had so many steps it was ridiculous.  I lost 2 pounds from that and another pound when I got home because I fell on my face and slept for about 20 hours without eating.  Then slept another 12 hours the next night after eating.

The hotel we stayed at was amazing.  It was a luxury suite, too.  I've never stayed in anything this nice before.  The amount of room in it, well, the bedroom itself was bigger than most hotel rooms I've stayed in.  It had a king size bed, a table and two stuffed arm chairs, a dresser, a 60 inch television and a dresser then about six feet of space until you got to a space you could sit down to put on your shoes. The side wall was nearly floor to ceiling windows with a nice view, but it had amazing blackout curtains on top of sheers.  Then you could step into the next area that on either side had two walk in closets and next to them, two built in dressers.  An ironing board, iron, bathrobes and slippers were provided.

From there you stepped into the main bathroom, which had a walk in shower that was halfway between a half-sized shower and a full-sized shower and had a waterfall showerhead, and on the other side of it was a soaking tub.  It was deep and long.  Long enough for me to fully stretch out and deep enough to have both my knees and just below my shoulders submerged at the same time.  I haven't ever been in a bathtub like that before and it was amazing.  It was the nicest thing for sore muscles after trekking around that hospital.  It was hard to get into and out of without grab bars, though, and also for a short person.  It had a double sink with double lighted mirrors and then behind a closed door was the toilet.  There was a sliding door that separated the bedroom from the other room.

The other room was a living room with a pull out couch bed that was actually comfortable with a large coffee table and two arm chairs.  It had an 80 inch TV on another dresser and there was another closet.  It was a corner suite so there were windows on the side wall and on the main wall.  As you continued away from the living room there was an office space with a full desk and a leather executive office chair.  There was stationary, postcards, pens, and stamps.  Across from this was a full bar with a sink, microwave, small refrigerator, and we were given four complimentary Aquafina waters a day.  On the backwall of the bar was a half bathroom.  On the back of that was a door that when unlocked would lead to an adjoining room if you rented both.

Further down was a settee, another place to sit and put your shoes on, with a lovely piece of art opposite it.  Then on the third wall was a cabinet for tucking away empty luggage if you needed more places to put it.  And there was yet more space until the door.  They could have fit maybe four hotel rooms in this place.  My MIL paid for it and it still cost less than the VRBO we stayed at last time, with way more comfortable beds.

I've never stayed somewhere with concierge service, an adults only quiet floor, no pets floor, valet parking, discounted meals with the room, 24 hour maid service if we wanted it, etc, as part of the package.  Oh, and we had to use our key to get onto our floor.  Anyone from the floor below us to the floor above us did.  The floors above us had been sold out or we could have gotten a two bedroom suite with all the same things for $50 more a night.

I felt so spoiled.  My husband and I are unassuming people, practically country bumpkins, but in a medium city.  I would have brought somewhat nicer clothes if I had known it was as nice as it was.  I'm just glad I didn't come in sweats and had styled my hair.  I also would have made sure the front of the car was cleaned out.

While it wasn't anything like a vacation, it still had lovely, refreshing, restful moments because of that hotel and I am so grateful to MIL for giving that to us.  It made all the difference in the world to be able to get good sleep and be super close to the hospital and have a place the day my daughter got out of the hospital to relax in before heading home.  It's nice to see how the other half lives.

Retirement and Net Worth Wrap Up for 2023

January 1st, 2024 at 06:48 am

Final numbers:

$129,758.76 401K

+$13,909.91 IRA


$143,668.67 Total Retirement Accounts

These last two weeks increased net worth by $3,464.93, a litte over half of that was contributions.  The IRA needs to gain about a few more dollars to reach where it was before Biden year 2 started.  Biden year 3 has had two really solid quarters, one free fall quarter (second quarter), and one amazing quarter (last quarter).  It puts the 3 year rate of return at 6.5% which is not so good, but for this year the IRA is at 21.62% and the 401K is at 17.21%.  Of course there was $37,484.08 of contributions between DH and his work put in that counts into that, so I'm not sure how accurate that makes the percentage on that one, but the IRA had no contributions.

New net worth is $238,973.61.

$11,026.39 to go and we are quarter millionaires.