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December 5th, 2021 at 01:07 am
There were appointments every day this week and man was it exhausting. I had two physical therapy sessions, one regular therapy session, one doctor's appointment for me, and one doctor's appointment for DD, who has bronchitis and a negative Covid test. I've been put on prednisone for 10 days to try to help with some of the inflammation I've been having due to the rheumatoid arthritis acting up so much in this cold weather swing, so I am feeling semi-decent, even if I do look like a puffer fish.
Last night DH and I to Costco and did a big shop. I used the ride on cart and we filled that basket, plus the basket of another shopping cart. I haven't been to Costco in months. We spent all but $50 of the grocery budget in one go, but I have lots of fruits and vegetables, some carne asada and two types of raviolis. And 4 cases of PH water, which was nearly $50 of the cost.
And 2 cases of Charmin. It's the first time they've had Charmin in a couple of months according the cashier. They had a limit of 5, though we only got 2. We might go back for more later. I like to keep 5 cases in the house during cold and flu season and we were down to one. Charmin is the only TP we can use that doesn't have some harsh agent in it that causes a rash. Well, that and MD but we can't find that anywhere for the last few years. They might not make it anymore.
I was really excited to find some uncured paleo bacon (no sugar) and some uncured paleo Candian bacon. And also a turkey and a roast beef deli meat pack with no sugar. I am going to restart my diet on Monday. I am not doing paleo, I just like to keep my high carb intake down to one meal a day, no more than 60 grams, and the other meals to be no sugar with lots of low carb vegetables. I got a couple of salad kits, a Ceasar (won't eat the dressing or croutons, but others will) and a chopped Meditarrean salad mix that had a lot of crunchy veggies in it like cabbage, broccoli slaw, carrots, and non-romaine lettuce. So I will mix those together. I love salad and I make a simple dressing that has very low carbs, but tastes good. I also stocked up a little on Kerrygold butter both salted and unsalted.
After that we headed out to storage with the truck to start bringing in our outdoor Christmas decorations. The elk takes up almost the whole bed of the truck, but we were able to put the flat large ornament under it and tuck some other small things around it. We had the bottled water back there, so there wasn't a ton of extra room. Tonight we will be going back out to bring in the lamp post, the icicle lights, all the the other things like the star, the angel, the Cardnial, the Santa face, and the candy canes. Plus the extension cords.
After we got home with the elk and put the groceries away and rested, we headed out to Lowe's. We picked up a large room space heater for us and another one for Mom. It has made a tremendous difference and I am no longer worried about the pipes freezing. We heard from the furnace people and it might actually be two more weeks.
We picked up some more lights while there and got a new standee yard decoration. This was a bear dressed in a band uniform sitting on a drum, so we call him a little drummer bear. I try to buy one standee a year. And we bought new lights for the bushes, because the solar ones just did not work well last winter. Too much bad weather and too little sunshine. We forgot to buy clips for the gutters though so we will go get those tonight when we go back out to storage. Then hopefully tomorrow we can get the decorations up. It's supposed to snow on Monday, so I'd like that done first.
At some point this weekend I'd like to go look for a freezer, too, now that the money has been refunded to us. So thankfully that whole freezer saga is done. Only took them 5 months. If we can at least get one ordered that would be nice.
Oh, and we bought an electric blanket for DH since his quit working. It should be here from Amazon on the 6th.
It has been spendy, but everything was either budgeted for or was saved up for, so it's all good.
I hope DH gets a decent Christmas bonus this year. It would be cool if we could dump some more money into the EF. They generally give a cash bonus and a 401K bonus. Or you can choose to have the cash bonus go into your 401K, too, in which case the government doesn't get their greedy little paws on a huge chunk of the bonus (bonuses are taxed higher). Last year the take home bonus was around $500, I think, but the year before it was $1500. They supposedly did a lot better this year than last, so I am hopeful.
They are supposed to give out raises at the end of the year, too. Not everyone is getting one, but it was strongly implied at DH's performance review that he would be. I don't think any raise could keep up with runaway inflation right now, but anything would help. It's not like DH doesn't have a good income, but when you put 15% into retirement and tithe 10%, that only leaves you with 75% to live on and that does make it tight sometimes. It is like how we were living when we were paying down debt for the most part.
I guess that is the trade off, though. Sacrifice now, so we don't have to sacrifice when we are in retirement. I guess it just feels super tight because we had to set aside most of the money MIL gave us for medical expenses instead of just being able to use it. But DS needs braces and DH needs a crown and I need a new mouth guard because mine is starting to crack. Mine will only cost $400 though. The crown will be $1500 and the braces I don't know yet, but I've got $6000 set aside for that. I hope it won't cost that much, but that is what we paid for DD, although her teeth were way worse.
We need to get DS separated from the grocer's union so he can go get a restaurant job. Did you know that if you take a non-union job after joining that union that they can sue you? That sucks. He does not want to go back to work at a grocery store. All the fast food places are hiring and they are non-union. The McDonalds nearby is over $15.69 an hour for regular shifts and $16.69 for overnight shifts. He was making $17.79 at the grocery store, so that's not too big a cut. Plus he won't have to go outside much. He had to get the carts at the grocery store and was always getting soaked, even with the rain jacket.
If he can get a job there it would be ideal. Either that or the DQ that is a block away from the McD's. He needs to start earning money so that he can get a car and then start saving up for school to become an electrician. But first he has to get his GED. Now that he is properly medicated for ADHD and BiPolar, he's got a chance of focusing long enough to do that. Although I think McD's also has a program for getting your high school diplomma so he might be able to do that, too. I'd prefer that to the GED, but at this point I just want him to finish.
January 17th, 2020 at 04:11 am
It has been snowing for the past 4 days and it has been bitter cold. Today is a little warmer, but we got down to 17 degrees F, which is darn cold for here. We've had the furnace at 75 just to feel like it is 68 at the far end of the house from the furnace. We are all wearing layers inside. I have on a long-sleeved shirt with a short sleeved shirt on over it and then a long sweater over that, heavy sweats and heavy socks. I just think about how much it would be if we hadn't had the insulation replaced under our part of the house last month. I wish we'd put plastic on the windows when I wanted to, but it got put off.
The gas bill will be high this month. Electric will be a little higher, too, because we are using the space heater in the rabbit shed to keep the water bottles from freezing. And I know my mom has been using her space heater, too. And we did have Christmas lights on for 3 weeks.
DH has been able to get out and go to work. We had about 8 to 10 inches of snow and they haven't done a great job about plowing the roads. But he is used to driving in the snow due to all the years of working in Alaska. DH has been authorized to do 10 hours of overtime a week for next week and the week after that. He could have some this week, but he has a cold and isn't sure he is up for it. He's barely managing to get in his 8 hours a day at the moment. Hopefully next week he will be better and he can take full advantage of it.
The extra money would come in handy because I would like to get an electric grain mill and the one I am looking at costs $263 if I want the attachment for small grains like millet, and I do. It's a big upfront investment, but it is a whole lot cheaper to buy rice and grind it into flour than to continue to buy rice flour at high prices. Even with a bulk source it still isn't anywhere as cheap as just buying the different rices to make sweet rice flour, white rice flour, and brown rice flour, so it will eventually pay for itself. Pretty quickly, too, within the year. And as far as I can tell millet only comes in grain form, not flour form so if I want millet flour I have to grind it myself. Sorghum flour I will still have to buy in bulk unless I can find a source of the grain itself, but I can deal with that.
Also both the husband the son need new belts and the son needs new farm boots. There should be some overtime money after that to throw at the mom loan or at the EF. I haven't decided quite yet. Of course, I won't count on it until he's worked it, but tentatively that's the plan.
On my weight loss goal I have lost 5.4 pounds since starting to eat right again. Today is day 4. I am tracking my calories and food with my fitbit. I am doing about 20 minutes of exercise a day. I will be working up to 30. I lost all of my stamina when I was in bed for 3 weeks and have been working at getting it back for the last week. They are careful exercises from my physical therapy time, ones that work with my rheumatoid arthritis and not against it.
DH said the IRA went over $10K today, so that was a nice milestone that happened. I have been anxiously awaiting that moment so I am glad it finally got here.
I've been kind of lazy about planning my meals out this week. Mostly I've just been taking meat out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge and then deciding what I am going to cook based on what has thawed out and then figuring out what is going to go with it. I usually like to plan better than that, but I'm still not up to snuff after being so sick for so long. I guess whatever gets homemade food on the table instead of takeout works, right?
Tonight I made meatloaf for dinner and roasted potatoes, bell peppers, and onions, with a bag of steamed broccoli on the side. It was my first time using gluten free bread crumbs. I didn't notice any difference in flavor at all, so that is nice. It didn't quite hold together as well as usual, but that might be down to the fact I only used 3 eggs instead of 4 and had an extra pound of meat in the mix, so I probably should have actually used five eggs for a five pound meatloaf (leftovers for lunches). Everything tasted great, though, even if it was a little messy to eat.
Well, I think that about wraps it up for today. If you all could pray for me that I start sleeping better, I'd appreciate it. Too many restless nights are running me down.
July 3rd, 2013 at 04:37 pm
I received a $5 gift card from Swagbucks for Amazon yesterday and will have enough points by the end of the day to send for another one. I have a book on hold at the library so we will be going downtown today. I want to get a few toys to put in the rabbit tractors and look for some more glass water bottles. They really prefer them to the plastic ones.
It's been blazing hot the last few days and most of my attention has gone to making sure that the animals, particularly the rabbits, stayed cool enough. I am happy to report that all nine of the newborn kits have survived the heat wave and it's starting to cool down.
We've been eating a lot of cold meats and vegetables and fruits here lately. Cooking isn't something anyone wants to do because it heats the house up. I've been soaking my head with cool water and that helps quite a bit since I have so much hair. We don't have air-conditioning in this house. I've been using fans and icepacks and one day I even grabbed a bra straight from the washing machine (I wash on cold) and that kept me cool for a couple hours until it dried. That was on the day it was 90.
I'll be using the crockpot a lot this week to help keep the house cool. I'm keeping the blinds and curtains shut during the day, and having them wide open in the evening with fans in them, to cool off the house. Fans go all night and I wake up with a cool house that stays that way for a while. I'm putting ice in all of my drinks (which is usually just water), and making cold meat salads for lunches.
What do you all do to beat the heat? Especially if you don't have air conditioning.
November 27th, 2012 at 03:18 am
We finally got a hard frost last night. And I do mean a hard one. When I went out at 7 to take DD to school there was thick ice on the windows. Fortunately,I had some spray on de-icer. I started the car heating and defrosting while I sprayed it on. Unfortunately, there was a layer of ice on the inside of the windshield and you can't spray de-icer on the inside because of the fumes. I had to scrape it. It wasn't nearly as thick on the inside.
I checked all the windows to make sure nothing had been partially down overnight to cause it to freeze inside, everything was up. Then after I scraped it we had to sit for a while with the defroster going to get rid of the humidity that was making it fog up. The car probably ran for 20 minutes before the windows were safe to see out of. Fortunately, DD's school doesn't start until 7:45, she just likes to get there early. She was still fifteen minutes early.
I was really surprised because we've had such mild weather this fall, I was expecting it to continue. The broccoli looked like it was a goner this morning, but the leaves all thawed out just fine by mid-day and were looking as healthy and beautiful as ever.
I had to take DS to the foot doctor today. He had gotten inflamed ingrown toenails on both of his big toes. It runs in the family. Of course he did this early in the holiday weekend so he's been miserable pretty much since Thursday. The doc drained them and packed them with cotton and prescribed an anti-biotic.
We'll go back on Monday next to see if they need surgical correction after the swelling has gone down. It's a very minor surgery, he just cuts away a bit of the tissue and any torn part of the nailbed. They use a local anesthetic, lidocaine. DS had a lot of relief just by having the side of the nailbed packed with cotton. It will probably have to be corrected though if he is anything like me or his father. Bad toenails or not, DS has the nicest looking feet. He could totally be a foot model or something.
Anyway, so we paid out $4.76 for his antibiotic and I renewed my BP med while we were there for $40.00. And since that store happened to have some Haagan Das vanilla ice cream I got that too, for $6.49. A little more than I like to pay for it, but at least I found it. Considering I wanted to just tool on down the road a bit to Arby's and buy dinner instead of coming home and making stir-fry, that's not too bad. Arby's would have added about $35. And my cooking was better anyway.
I think the heater is going to have to stay on 70 tonight. I can feel the chill through the house despite having on slipper socks, a sweater, and an afgahn over my lap. I've pulled out the extra blankets for everyone, but we may still be sleeping in sweats tonight.
All of the birds were out today, even Silver (the shyest and most timid) and Lady (the duck). They've decided to be free range apparently. But they stayed in the yard and still put themselves into the coop a half hour before dark. Lady was less than pleased that her little pond was frozen over and she let the whole world know. Not that she's super loud or anything, it was just a constant murmur of complaint.
Fort Knox remains empty. It's just as well. It's warmer in the chicken coop with all 13 birds sharing body heat. We have to be a little more aware of the waterers now, making sure they aren't frozen. They will be eating a lot more feed now to keep up their body temps and be able to lay eggs. We got 7 today. There were five delivered to the box on the back porch. Both leghorns are laying in there now. Because why use a perfectly good set of nesting boxes when you have access to the world's best cardboard box?
August 13th, 2012 at 04:59 am
1. Baked bread. One loaf. And I waited until evening so it wouldn't heat the house up as badly.
2. Picked a gallon of blueberries from the back yard.
3. Balanced my checkbook. Why is this frugal? Because if you don't know what your balance is, you don't know where you stand financially.
4. Cooked dinner in the crockpot. No heating up the whole house with the oven and no eating out because I was too tired to actively cook.
5. Added chicken manure bedding to the compost bin. Eventually we will have lovely free compost.
6. Saved vegetable peels in a bag in the freezer for future soup stock.
7. Saved the bread crumbs from cutting up the loaf of bread I baked in a baggy in the freezer for making meatballs in the future.
8. Didn't spend any money or go anywhere so didn't use gas, either.
9. Did a $3 survey for ACOP.
Little things add up.
August 1st, 2012 at 04:14 am
I'm getting a little overwhelmed by trying to keep up with the fruit production right now. I picked a gallon of raspberries and 2 gallons of blueberries today. Actually, I probably picked at least another gallon of blueberries, but that went to the greedy chickens. I swear for every two handfuls I put in the bag I was throwing one to the chickens. With 12 chickens eating them it was a lot. I don't mind sharing, I just wish they could pick, too!
They are getting very friendly, coming right up to me and demanding berries. Some will even tap me on the foot with their beaks if they think it has been too long since I've dropped some berries for them, cheeky little birdies. I really should take out my camera when I pick because they get so close and I could get some great shots.
Anyway, I estimate I picked about $50 worth of berries today, not counting what I fed to the chickens. Everything is in the freezer. It's too hot in the house to process right now and picking is done either before eleven in the morning or after seven in the evening, when it is cool enough to do the work.
My biggest brandywine tomato is moving from orange to red now. It looks so good. I harvested a quart of green beans today, but I think that patch of beans is just about spent. Maybe another handful left that needs to size up a bit. I need to poke a few more seeds into the ground. There might be just enough time left to get a late harvest.
I have two kohlrabi the size of tennis balls and 2 about the size of golf balls. I think the two bigger ones should be ready in about a week. I am really looking forward to them as there is nothing like kohlrabi fresh from the garden. Some of the smaller ones are starting to swell now.
I'm not sure what's going to happen with the cauliflower. It got hot at the wrong time. I am going to tie the leaves over the small heads tomorrow, at least on the ones that the slugs have not eaten the leaves too far down on, to see if they will blanch. Cauliflower is not one of my favored veggies. I will eat it, but I only ever make it because DH and the kids like it, so if it doesn't survive, eh... The broccoli is coming along nicely though.
I harvested the last of the old lettuce today and pulled the plants. The chickens were happy to get those, too, the greedy guts.
The garden has paid for itself about three times over now, plus paid for all the canning supplies and sugar I have bought this summer. I am happy about that. I will be even happier when I start picking tomatoes.
I am thinking about getting some sweet corn to put up at the end of August. We did plant some, but just enough for fresh eating. I just need to decide between freezing or canning if I buy some. I would freeze if I had the freezer by then, but I don't know if I will. So it may be canning by default. It would be nice to buy local corn when it is 10/$10. I guess it will depend on how well my tomatoes do, because if they don't do well, I will spend my grocery money on organic tomatoes to put up.
I can at least buy good canned corn from TJ's at a decent price all year around, but I can't do that for tomatoes. And also, with the corn being killed in the middle of the nation from drought, there may be a higher demand for Washington state corn and I might not be able to get it so cheap, either. Well, a year without much corn won't kill me, if it comes to that. Now a year without potatoes, that would be hard. But those are growing in our garden just fine. I may not even have to buy potatoes at all from September to May if they are as productive as they look like they are going to be.
I don't think we are anywhere near being able to provide all of our produce needs for the year this year, but we'll have grown a good enough hunk of it to take a major bite out our grocery budget, which will make it easier to save up for the protein in bulk from sustainable sources. I would love to get my grocery budget down to $400 a month if averaged over the year, even if it means buying a large portion of it up front.
I redeemed two $5 amazon gift cards from swagbucks today and will do the same tomorrow. I wish I had done it yesterday, so I could have gotten 4 this month. Oh, well. Live and learn.
July 30th, 2012 at 06:43 am
I am going to try to do a few easier meals this week, I think. It's supposed to be hot all week and long and involved food is not something I really want to get into. I will use the crock pot at least twice. Oh, speaking of using the crock pot, I made up the applesauce and DH pronounced it very delicious. this is what I did:
5 apples, peeled, cored and segmented into eighths (I think they were pink lady or cameo, which are the only type I buy other than honeycrisp usually and they weren't honeycrisp)
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Put all ingredients in the crockpot on high for 6 hours. It was supposed to be 3 to 4 but I forgot about it. No harm done though. It made 2 12 ounce jars and one 8 ounce jar (or 3 half pints total, if I had been able to find more 8 ounce jars). Process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes to make it shelf stable. It is nice to have those apples out of my fridge produce drawer.
Anyway, planned dinners for the week:
Homemade french fries from home grown potatoes
Spaghetti with homemade sauce
Homemade garlic toast
Meatball sandwiches made with leftover meatballs, leftover sauce, and leftover garlic toast
Leftover cole slaw
Homemade pizza (made with leftover spaghetti sauce) and whatever toppings we have on hand, probably green peppers, onions, Canadian bacon and uncured pepperoni
Toasted ham and cheese sandwiches
Homemade chicken noodle soup (from a chicken roasted for lunches and then crock potted to make stock and then soup)
Homemade french fries
Beef chuck roast made in the crockpot with carrots and potatoes
Drop biscuits with homemade jam
July 28th, 2012 at 10:49 pm
This morning was nice and cool and the perfect morning for making jam without heating the house up terribly. I used my new food mill on the apricots and the blackberries, but the blueberries just went into the blender.
The results of my 3 hours of labor.
I ended up with six half pints of apricot jam, a value of $48 (organic jam has gone up, I priced it last week), minus the cost of sugar and apricots, so a net value of $40.
I did 4 pints of blackberry jam for a value of $56. The blackberries were free, so the cost of the sugar was $2. So a net value of $54.
Last I did 8 half pints of blueberry jelly. Again the berries were free from the yard so it was the cost of the sugar, $2. So $64 minus $2, a net value of $62.
Altogether I spent $12 on ingredients and profited $158 by putting up this jam and jelly today. I will likely do at least one more batch of blackberry jam, one more batch of raspberry jam, and one more batch of blueberry jelly this summer and any other berries will be frozen. I think I'll have enough jam for the year. I may actually already have enough jam for the year, but some will be gifts.
And another look at my expanded stash. We have used up one jar of strawberry and are in the process of eating a second and also on the first jar of apricot jam, but there are two more rows added as well.
I can't wait until I can fill a shelf full of tomato products. Another month and a half for that.
July 26th, 2012 at 03:58 am
So after our lovely day off yesterday, and it really was great despite the traffic mess, today it was back to routine after a good sleep in.
Today I baked bread:
These are by far my best loaves since I started baking bread again. A lot of the time they do not end up so nicely rounded on top, but I've been letting them do their second rise a bit longer and it seems to be helping with that. No more fallen (but still tasty) loaves.
My pepper plants are doing amazing. It's July and look at the size of this one already:
There are six fruits on this plant of decent size, though this is the biggest and there are tons more blossoms. I have never successfully grown bell peppers so I am thrilled at how well they are doing. It helps that most of the month has been pretty hot with only a few days of cooler temps.
I picked green beans today. I filled half a quart baggy. I don't think I will get much more off these plants, maybe the same again. They didn't get into the ground soon enough and sadly have stopped blossoming. But I've got more beans coming in a different area of the garden so that is okay. And at least the other bean plants are fixing nitrogen into the soil.
I filled a gallon size baggy with lettuce leaves and picked another pint of blackberries and two pints of blueberries. I need to pick raspberries badly. I think there is at least a gallon of berries in need of picking. I hope to get to them tomorrow. Of course I need to pick more blueberries, too, but there is only so much time in a day and I had a lot of laundry to do today and had an appointment that took me two hours, so didn't spend too much time outside.
The squash plants are coming along well, except for one, which I may need to move. The tomatoes are looking very nice and hopefully the weather will continue and I will get the harvest I am hoping for later this summer. Broccoli and cauliflower are coming along nicely and there is some gorgeous kohlrabi that might be ready in about a week. Looking forward to that a lot.
Tomorrow I am planning on making jam. I am making apricot jam, blackberry jam, and blueberry jam. I just hope it isn't too hot in the morning to do it. I won't do it during the heat of the day and if tomorrow is anything like tonight, doing it in the evening isn't an option either. We need to keep the house as cool as possible without air conditioning.
January 18th, 2012 at 11:39 pm
The snow is great for my finances. It's really hard to spend money if you can't even get out of the driveway! Not impossible, of course, there is always the internet, but I am well-disciplined when it comes to internet shopping and never shop just to shop.
I am so sick of the snow already and there is just no sign of it stopping. Last night they said we were supposed to get 15 more inches and it is well on it's way there.
There probably will be no school at all this week. This is the second snow day, and it's been really nice to lounge around in pajamas all week and not even worry about getting up, shoveling off the car, clearing the driveway and trying to drive on snow with ice underneath it.
Speaking of pajamas, I am so glad I made the investment in three pairs of full length PJs. They have made such a difference this winter in helping me to stay warm without having to turn the bedroom space heater on much.
I probably won't get to have any physical therapy this week. I've already had one session cancelled and I doubt very much that my next scheduled one will happen since the weather has only gotten worse. In fact, I may cancel it if they don't.
I did slack off on my exercises on Monday, but I did them all yesterday and then I went on the internet and found a couple of stretches for the psoas muscle, because I have suspected for a few weeks that it might be part of the problem. There were two I could do that didn't involve getting on the floor or on my knee. After I did them, I felt so much better! I've been in misery for weeks and these simple stretches relieved so much pain. All I can say is God bless the people who put stuff up on youtube and here's hoping SOPA and PIPA don't pass on the 24th and censor the heck out of it.
January 14th, 2012 at 07:02 pm
I can't believe how cold it got last night. It was 26 degrees F, but the wind was blowing hard, so the wind chill factor made it much colder. It's been so warm through December and the first part of January that I've been fine without the space heater in my bedroom for a while, but last night I had to turn it on around 2 a.m., because it was freezing. I definitely won't be beating the cold this week.
The wind comes down the side of the house my room is on and it actually whistles sometimes. Last night it was just roaring. It sounded like a train coming at the house or something.
It is supposed to snow this weekend. It hasn't snowed all winter (we had a few random flakes in late fall, but nothing real). We had one hailstorm in November. Otherwise nothing.
I hope it doesn't affect DH flying back to work on Monday. Four weeks without a paycheck is enough, thank you.
I have some more bills to do today and I need to catch the blog up on the ones I've done earlier this week.
I added $6 to the coin jar. Unexpected medical came up so I transferred $500 from the medical holding tank. I'll specify that out in another post though.