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Deeper and Deeper, We're Buried Alive

February 12th, 2019 at 05:24 pm

There's 18 inches of snow on the ground, and it is still snowing, but less consistently, which means that if I want a birthday cake I am going to have to bake it myself and I'm sort of the mindset of, well, ehh. Maybe peanut butter cookies as they are easy and I am already making bread. DH has been able to get out to go to work, but not many are able to get in. Some of the stores are closed, so even if I sent him for a cake, the stores might not even be open and I don't want him driving more than he has to right now.

Of course, this means we have spent no money since Sunday. Not that I planned to buy much, but I did want to get a new electric skillet and have the money in the household envelope for it. Those things really don't last long and the last one we got I was never fond of anyway, as it made a weird noise the whole time it was on. But now the coating is all scratched up. I have no idea how as we only ever use wooden or silicon cooking utensils in it.

I'm actually just thinking of getting one of those induction cook tops so that I could just use my cast iron pans or stainless steel on it and be done with this non-stick nonsense altogether. It costs twice as much as a skillet and I'd have to wait until the 22nd to order it when I put more money in the household envelope, but we've gone without for two weeks now, we can go another two, plus time for shipping. I've been considering doing this a long while. Since we just bought TP, body wash, and shampoo and conditioner, there isn't anything else I will be needing the household category for next payday except maybe tissues, so there will be plenty of money in there then.

Maybe I'll make cupcakes. I can do those in the Nuwave. Or maybe I'll just be happy with my bread and pick up a discounted Valentine's day cake the day after instead. They are always half price then. Or skip it altogether.

I'm not really that into it this year. I'm 49. Next year is more of a milestone. Although I did have one milestone of sorts, DH and I both did. They gave us the senior discount at the hospital cafeteria. DH is balding and grey and I haven't colored my hair for the last year or so, so my grey streaks at the front temples of my hair are quite visible (they used to be ash blonde streaks in a sea of auburn when I was younger). I didn't notice until I was looking at the receipt. So that was the first time we've been given a senior discount. Maybe I can order off the IHOP's senior menu now. They always have way too much food in the regular part, so I usually give DH half my pancakes and he orders accordingly. Not that we go there much anymore at all.

Sorry, this is so stream of consciousness today. Nothing much better to do while I wait for the bread to rise.

DH Found My Fitbit

January 25th, 2019 at 10:57 pm

I lost my Fitbit months ago. I thought I must have accidentally flushed it down the toilet, because I couldn't think where else I might have possibly taken it off besides the bathroom. Turns out it was in his truck, so it had to have fallen out there. He had to clean the truck out because he is taking it to be fixed this weekend and he found it on the floor.

I almost never ride in the truck so I never would have seen it on the passenger side and he wouldn't have found it if he wasn't cleaning. I am so happy to have it back. I felt so awful about losing such an expensive device. I couldn't really justify getting another one, as much as I wanted to have one. Not even with my own allowance money. I have this rule for the kids that if they break something through carelessness or just lose stuff, they are out of luck, and I sort of felt like I should abide by my own rule.

I will be much more careful with it from this point forward.

Broken Blogs, Broken Blog Goal

January 17th, 2019 at 02:09 am

So the commenting feature is acting up again, claiming I'm not logged in when I am. Will they ever get this thing permanently fixed? I've gotten to the point where I don't even feel like complaining anymore, because they'll make it work for a week, but it never works for good. The emojis haven't worked for what, two years now? *sighs* I know it is little things, but it is really making it user unfriendly.

My goal to blog more consistently kind of went by the wayside. We cleaned rabbit cages this weekend with our new clearance pressure washer, swept out the rabbit shed, including all of the cobwebs on the ceiling and put away the summer fans which had not been stored properly yet, and I wore myself out so bad that the last thing I felt like doing is blogging. I did, however, finish watching season 2 of Westworld.

The pressure washer was a $200 machine that we got for $70 because of the season, I'm sure. It is an ecofriendly one, too, that doesn't use as much water, but is very forceful. It made the chore much easier and faster, but it still took several hours because some of the trays had to be fired. Also having only 8 rabbits now makes it easier to get through all the cages quickly.

I haven't made up a meal plan for the second half of the month yet, since I was basically using up leftovers the past couple of days. We had some shredded chicken to get through so I made quesadillas. I also made some Mexican rice which had leftovers so DH and DS will have some for their next couple days of lunches. Both are big rice eaters. I used some of my home canned salsa in it. It's from 2015, my huge tomato year. The day before that we had leftover pork stew. Tomorrow I will sit down and figure out a meal plan for the remainder of the month.

I have to be more careful about how much work I do around the farm. I still haven't completely shaken my cough and despite it being fairly warm at 45 degrees on Saturday and Sunday, it was still a little colder than I probably should have been out in. But the work goes faster with three people than two. I spent most of Monday and Tuesday in bed, though. Partly the cough, but mostly the rheumatoid arthritis flaring up after doing so much work.

I have misplaced the rabbits' nail clippers so will have to pick up a new pair as they are all due for a clipping. I hate having to go to the pet store, but the farmer's co-op doesn't sell the right kind of clippers, the kind that encircle the whole nail. I think I need to get a new brush, too. The last one broke. The don't need to be brushed generally, but a couple of them are blowing their coats already. Makes me think we might not get a super cold winter this year. So when they do that it helps to brush out all the old fur. Plus they really seem to enjoy the extra attention. So a couple of small expenses there, but I doubt I will spend more than $15 there. DH needs to pick up a bale of hay this weekend, too.

I need to get a new charger for my phone as well. The one I have only works if it is propped at an angle. So while I can get it to charge, sometimes I forget to prop it and then go to grab my phone and it is dead. I don't know how much that will cost, but I have over $100 in my allowance envelope, since I rarely spend it. It won't be near that, I know, but I am prepared regardless.

I got my medical checkbook balanced. Found a mistake that made the balance $365 off. It was $182.50 that I'd added instead of subtracted, thereby doubling to $365. But that account has over $5000 in it so no worries.

I have entered in all the medical bills for each month. Now I need to add them all up and see the total to see if we can deduct for them. I know some stuff has changed this year. I'll get that done tomorrow and get the numbers for that and our tithe to DH. I'd like to get our taxes done ASAP. With identity theft in our lives, the sooner the better. Of course, I don't know if the IRS will be processing or not due to the shutdown. The last time there was a shutdown at this time of year, we sent it in early and still got it back fairly quickly, but that one was shorter than this one, so who knows?

I called VM today as I still haven't heard anything about DD's surgery being scheduled. I know there was a delay for the holidays, but it has been nearly a month. I left a message with the scheduler, so hopefully I will hear back from her tomorrow. DD has dropped 75 pounds in that amount of time. Pretty much all of it retained water. The new meds are working very well in that respect. She has cheekbones again. No guarantee it won't come back, but for now it is a major relief for her body.

Okay, I think that catches me up.

All's Quiet on the Home Front

January 6th, 2019 at 11:54 pm

DD is doing much better now. Thanks for all the supportive comments. They gave her IV fluids because she was dehydrated and the doctor agreed that it was a gasteroparesis flare up that caused an adrenal crisis due to not keeping down her meds. So we did everything right. She was there for a few hours, but her blood work came back okay on the cortisol levels, the shot did what it was supposed to do. Her iron levels are improving now that she has been able to eat very lean beef again, so we got confirmation of that. They did do the dumb pregnancy test despite her not needing one.

My birthday present from MIL has arrived yesterday, though my birthday is not until February 12th. She said I did not need to wait to use it if I didn't want to. I got a KitchenAid hand mixer in ice blue, which is really a minty green/blue color. They didn't have it in teal, which seems to be a discontinued color for KitchenAid. It is the color of my stand mixer, my toaster (Oster), and my Keurig. So I went with a color that will compliment the teal.

Today I ordered the birthday present that comes from DH (but will also be using some of the money I got from MIL for Christmas). It is a Dash 1400 watt blender in Aqua, which is also really a minty green/blue color in reality. Unfortunately KitchenAid does not have a blender in ice blue, so this was the closest I could come. I think this is a better blender anyway, more on par with a Vitamix, only slightly better. It was on a very good deal today and what I have been considering purchasing for a good long while. So, no, it's not an electric apple flinger situation.

We have been getting by with a cheap Ninja blender for the last couple of years, but it is one of those ones that you have to hold down to make it blend the entire time you blend it. And it is not that great with frozen things or ice. With this DD should be able to eat vegetables and fruits again that are not acidic. They have to be very pureéd or liquified so there are no long fibers that she can't digest.

You can also make soup in it as it has a soup function. This way she can get back to some healthier food options. And also I can make more low carb veggie soups. And we might be able to do a smooth pureé cauliflower and see if she can tolerate cauliflower that way. We've had to avoid the brassicas, but just maybe she could eat them this way.

I have been slowly investing in quality kitchen appliances the last few years after having cheap ones that break easily and have to be replaced for most of my marriage. I use them all the time, too, so it is nice to have dependable ones. It's not like I really need anything else anyway and cooking and baking make me happy so this has been working by having them be my gifts. I don't have to come up with unscheduled money for them, but I still get to add to my needed (and wanted) appliances/gadgets collection.

I am glad I took my time with these purchases and was able to wait until they came in the colors I liked and were good, high quality items that will last me for years.

I Have a Hard Time Spending Money on Myself

December 28th, 2018 at 02:00 am

Today was a pretty decent day. Yesterday sucked and I thought I was going to get super sick again, but it passed by this morning and I had a lot more energy than I've had in weeks. DS and I spent some time cleaning up the living room and kitchen. More work needs to be done. It's been almost a month since I've felt up to doing anything, but at least we made some progress.

DS and I went to Lowe's today and bought a new microwave. Our old one has been having issues for a while of not heating food evenly and taking too long to defrost and overheating food in a shorter amount of time than it should be. We only had to contribute $16.31 to the cost of the microwave. The other $200 came from MIL. It was the money she gave us when she bought SIL a chrome book. She likes to keep things even between DH and SIL these days.

This is a nicer microwave than we've ever owned. It has 2 cubic feet of capacity, which will be really nice. I've always worried about big things touching the sides or top of the microwave while defrosting. We had some pretty big cuts of things from the hog we got last year and I could definitely defrost a 14 pound ham in this thing if necessary. And two whole chickens side by side.

It does have that stupid quick time thing that I hate. I prefer to just punch in the time I want to use instead of having to push a button first to program an exact time. I hate that if you just touch the 1 it takes off cooking for one minute. But the only microwaves that didn't have that feature were .7 cubic foot dorm room ones that were so tiny you would be lucky to make a large TV dinner in them. But otherwise it is lovely and I can deal with that issue.

It is also completely black. I don't like the combination black and stainless ones, I don't like white, I don't like black and white, and I don't like straight stainless (which cost $50 more). I was happy to find a fully black one in our price range. The only thing that would make me happier is if I could have found one in teal to match my toaster, Kuerig, and KitchenAid stand mixer.

I still haven't spent any of the $200 MIL gave me for Christmas. I have been thinking about getting a hand mixer for those smaller baking batches where I don't want to do the much bigger one. They don't have one that matches the stand mixer. Teal has been discontinued unfortunately, but they do have Crystal Blue, which I like, but I think will clash. *sighs* So probably I will get onyx black.

Then I want to get a new liner pot for my Power Cooker XL. I am thinking of getting a stainless steel Instant Pot one. I've used the one from the IP in the PCXL to test it and it works perfectly. I also want to get a lid for the pot so I can just put bone broth in the fridge until I am ready to strain it, and not have to worry about something getting in it by accident. I once shut the fridge door to hard and the ketchup bottle ended up in my bone broth, so yeah.

I'm not sure what else I want, though. Maybe an otovent, since the last time my ears were blocked was a nightmare. Maybe a couple of sweaters from Woman Within. They have long ones that go down to mid-thigh. My butt is always cold in the winter so it would be nice to have a sweater or two that would help with that.

Or I could get a new Fitbit. Did I tell you guys that I accidentally flushed my first one? Or at least that is what I think happened, about two months after I got it. I was so mad at myself.

I have been saving up my allowance for the last few months, too. Except for the occasional double cheeseburger or taco, I don't spend my allowance on anything. I might just keep all the money to have to pay an editor to edit my book when it is done. But I really do want to get at least the liner pot. The sweaters can come out of the clothing envelope.

I have a hard time spending money on myself. I am okay with spending money for things that benefit the whole family. I am fine when I just give MIL a list and she buys me stuff, but when she gives money I tend to hold onto it. I will likely at least keep it until my birthday in February and then combine my birthday money into it and then decide what to do from there.

Choices for a New Phone--Help Me Decide

June 9th, 2017 at 11:20 am

I really need to get a new cell phone. My current phone is a Samsung Intensity from 2009 so it is 8 years old. I wish it could muddle along forever, but sadly it is giving up the ghost. I've gone through three batteries and am on my third charger, all off E-bay since Samsung hasn't carried the proper items to replace these in several years. And while I know I could buy one off e-bay for between $10 and $25, I think it is time to drag myself kicking and screaming towards a more current phone.

I don't need bells and whistles, I just want a pull out keyboard, but they don't seem to make those anymore. I hate touch screen technology for phones. While it might be nice to access the internet at a grocery store for coupons, I don't need to be on the internet on my phone. I need it for texting mostly and a little bit of making phone calls.

I've been putting off buying a new one for about a year. I am debating what I should buy. I may take a photo or two, but I doubt I will ever use it for videos as my camera is so much better than any phone for that. I don't need to store music on it as I have a perfectly good I-pod for that. So I don't need a ton of memory, either.

I am thinking about the Samsung J7 ($163), the Motorola Moto G4 ($199), the Samsung J3 Emerge ($149), or the Samsung J3 ($129). Has anyone used any of these phones? If so, what are your opinions on them?



Hello, Murphy, My Old Friend...

March 6th, 2017 at 08:28 pm

...you've come to walk with me again. Yes, totally singing it to the tune of The Sound of Silence (Disturbed's version, not the original Simon and Garfunkle).

The hot water tank exploded. Well, not literally, but the water coming out of it did. It made quite a mess and we have had no hot water in our part of the house for two days. There is still hot water in the main house, but it is on a different hot water heater.

The one that exploded feeds the laundry room, the outdoor hot water hose, and our bathroom and shower. It is freezing out, snowing for 3 or 4 days now, so when you come in from doing something outside and have to wash your hands in cold water it is very hard to warm up.

They came to look at the tank today and it is still under warranty, so the tank itself will be replaced for free. The labor, however, will cost $700. Ugh. And they will be starting work early in the morning. Double ugh.

We have washed all the towels used to soak up the water on cold and dried them, but that was just so they weren't sitting around mildewing for a couple days. They will have to be rewashed in hot water as soon as we have it again.

I am using paper plates, bowls, and plastic cups for the most part so we don't have to deal with dishes. Right now having hot water involves heating it up in the microwave and mixing it with some cold so it doesn't burn you.

It reminds me of one of the Little House books, where Pa would bring in buckets of cold water from the well and then Ma would heat water in the kettle on the wood stove to add to the bathwater to get it to the right temperature. Only no bath, just the sink.

Oh, well, I can shower tomorrow after the workers leave.

Sick, Sicker, Sickest

February 17th, 2017 at 01:17 am

Yeah, so I've been quiet, but I'm alive. I had a very bad virus, or possibly the flu, that put me down hard for about a week. I came down with it the night of the 2nd, but it didn't hit hard until the night of the 6th and then I was down for the count. Oh, it was a rough one. I slept for about 4 days straight at that point and then finally began to feel human again on my birthday, the 12th. Human enough to make a cake anyway. I'm 47 now.

On the 13th I felt up for going to Costco. We were out of a lot of staples like flour, sugar, salt, cheese, and were almost out of toilet paper. I also bought some chicken, fish, and frozen broccoli. I had planned to pick up my birthday present, too, a food processor, but they didn't have them anymore.

On the 14th I felt like I was relapsing so I went back to bed and took it easy. On the 15th I had physical therapy and went to Walmart and bought a food processor there. Now we can give MIL back her ancient one that travels all over when you use it and shakes so bad I was always afraid it was going to fall apart in front of me.

I also went to see if I could find some tennis shoes because all I have now are loafers and flip flops. I found some Dr. Scholl's that actually fit in width, so I could buy a size 9 instead of a size 11. They have great gel insoles, too. I bought two pairs of the same shoe and will put one up in the closet until the first pair wears out. It is so hard for me to find shoes that fit. And I picked up two new nightgowns as I had to toss one that got eaten by something and all torn up and the other is wearing so thin it is practically see-through and not at all appropriate to be wearing in front of my teenage son.

As much as I don't like spending right now, I don't feel bad about these purchases. The food processor helps so much in shredding cheese, cabbage, and onions alone. It saves me so much work and makes it so much easier on me to cook at home. It also saves money to do these things at home as cheese is cheaper in blocks, cabbage is cheaper not pre-shredded, and onions are cheaper not pre-chopped. And the shoes and nightgowns were needed. Well, maybe only one pair of shoes was needed, but as hard a time as I have finding them, I felt it prudent to get the second pair now.

DH got me a single red rose for Valentine's Day. We usually don't bother with the holiday at all, feeling it's a commercial made up holiday, but he bought me one and I do like having it as it slowly opens. I also got a Fragrant Jewels bath bomb for my birthday that had an amethyst and silver ring inside that I used on Valentine's Day. Very pretty piece of costume jewelry and a very nice soak in the tub full of purple water.

I'm still running low on my reserves from the virus, so I have to be careful not to push too hard. I am back to eating nutritionally (i.e. more than ice cream, soup, and tea). My son is over the virus, my husband is a few days behind me, and my daughter is still in the middle of it, but at least on the upswing.

I'm going to try to make the rest of the month be no spend except for medicine and milk.

Some Small Kitchen Purchases

February 2nd, 2017 at 04:40 pm

Today I made some kitchen purchases that I have been putting off for a while. I decided to go ahead and get what I needed today as in the long run it will lower my costs and/or be helpful to my cooking from scratch to keep food prices lower.

First I bought a new extra large pizza crisper pan. The old one had warped and taken on a really bad patina that seemed to causing the crusts on my pizzas to burn in that area. The pan was very old. It isn't the oven because the small pizza pan that is the same brand and type, but does not have the patina on it, did not burn.

Since we frequently make homemade pizza and calzones and pierogies, only having the smaller pan was meaning cooking in multiple batches, which means the over is on longer and nothing is done all at once.

Second, I bought a microwave popcorn popper. We eat a lot of popcorn and microwave popcorn is expensive, especially for the kind with no additives. Popcorn kernels are cheap. I can get a 1 pound bag of organic popcorn for $2 and a regular bag for $1 (at Dollartree). It was $15 means that I'd have to buy six boxes of organic microwave popcorn 3 packs to equal the cost. So that would be 18 bags worth. Halfway through the first bag of kernels I will break even. Since I already had 2 bags of popcorn kernels on hand, I didn't have to buy that.

I did make some popcorn when I got home. The instructions have it go too long, but I know what it needs to be now. The popcorn tasted so much better with fresh butter and a bit of salt and I only ate one salad bowl full and was satisfied. With microwave popcorn there is an urge to eat the whole bag. Even with the organic, there has to be something in the butter spray to encourage eating more. So that was an unexpected bonus.

Third, I bought a good bread knife. Now that I am baking our bread and rolls again, I needed a good serrated knife for that. It makes a big difference in cutting homemade bread evenly and to the correct size without tearing the loaves.

Fourth, I bought a metal mixing bowl for my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. It is light weight. The bowl that came with my mixer is made of glass and it is really heavy. With the ligament damage in my wrists it is really hard for me to deal with the heavy glass bowl. I also have a tendency to drop things sometimes. The damage seems to have cross-wired some nerves so sometimes my hands just lose their grip randomly.

It is hard for me to maneuver it in the sink to clean it, so I generally had to rely on someone else to clean it and it can sit a day or two until someone gets tired me asking and they get around to it. With this lighter weight bowl I can clean it easily myself and get it back into production without nagging. There have been times when I simply haven't made something I might have otherwise, because I couldn't clean the bowl. Now that issue will be gone. If the color stand mixer I had wanted hadn't only come with a glass bowl I would have got one that came with a metal bowl to begin with.

All in all, I feel good with my purchases. Even with keeping costs down as much as possible, I felt these were things that help and were worth the extra cost at this time. It is weird to have to weigh each purchase so closely. It has been a long time since I've had to do that.