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Potato Harvest, Garden Talk, Aerogarden, Computers, Canning--Long Post

October 14th, 2022 at 01:30 am

We've got the potatos all dug up.  We did it over two weekends.  I haven't weighed them yet, but visually it looks like we got more than last year.  We are letting them sit for two weeks for the skins to harden before we start weighing them by variety.  I can tell at a glance that the red La Soda did very well this year, both the seed potatoes that we bought and the ones that we saved our own seed from.  So did the Canela Russets, which are a variety of Russets that have a much lighter skin than most Russets, but taste just like Russets, only they were a lot smaller than they should have been, but they really made a lot.  They should have been 4 or 5 inches long, but we got them about 3 inches long.  We also got a lot of Kennebecs from our seed potatoes and a ton of our own Gold Rush potatos.

By and large the seed potatoes we saved did better than then one we bought from the nursery, except the red La Soda.  The ones we planted from the nursery were bigger than ours to begin with, though.  We saved smaller ones, so even chitted, the ones from the nursery were bigger pieces than the small whole ones we planted.  That makes a difference.  But ours still did well, a lot better than last year.

Anyway, the grocery store potatos that we planted that sprouted on us, also did very well, which I find very interesting, because the Russets weren't even organic, so had probably been sprayed with sprout inhibitor, but they sure had sprouted a lot when Mom gave me the half bag to throw away and DH and I decided to make another row and plant them.  We also did 3 rows of organic yellow potatoes that we had let sprout to plant as well, because shipping the potatoes was so expensive and most yellow potatoes cost more than any other kind from the nurseries.

I'll have to note it all down in my garden notebook and compare it all to last year when I have the final numbers, but with a cursory glance that seems to be how it has come out.  We had good luck last year with the grocery store potatoes, too, whether organic or not, and planted a lot more of those than nursery seed potatoes.

I will again save out seed potatoes, but will only purchase two varieties this year instead of 5 or 6.  I want to get more of the Magic Molly French Fingerlings and the German Butterballs.  I was successful enough with the other varieties to save some of those out, but only enough of the Butterballs to have 4 or 5 meals with them.  I only got 3 pounds of them to plant last year to try, so next year I'd like to get 25 pounds of them.  The Magic Mollys we could have about 10 meals from or have one meal from and save the rest to plant, but I would really rather eat them and get 25 pounds of them to plant.  I only got 5 pounds of those and so got more of them and they were bigger than the Butterballs because we didn't dig them early like you can.

If I can find both of them in 25 pound increments and not just 50.  I really have to watch for when they become available to order.  Last year I didn't start checking until January and a lot of the 25 pound selections had already sold out.  They don't ship them until planting time, but people were ordering really early so I am starting now to check weekly.  I don't need 50 pounds of each.  The shipping on that is way too much.  We will only eat one meal of each to make sure we like those varieties and I will hold back on making more until we know about whether we can order more in case we do have to save all of those for seed potatoes.

The rest of the yellow potatos I planted were the Gold Rush seed potatoes I saved from last year.  Those did pretty well, too.  There was a lot of production for the amount I planted, which was not as much as I wanted to, but still another row than last year.  I'll double what I save out for next year.  Eventually I will have enough of each variety I want to plant to never have to buy seed potatoes at all from the nursery.

All that's left to do there is to put down lime and rototill it into the soil.  I'm thinking about putting down some peat and rototilling that in as well.  There is still a lot of clay in the soil despite how much we have amended it back there.  I'm not even sure we'd use a whole bag this year, maybe half and see how that goes. We'd also rototill that in and some more compost.  Then we'll go out to the bay and harvest enough seaweed to put down on top of it and cover it with black plastic and the seaweed will compost down over the rest of the fall, all winter, and into the early spring and feed the soil.

When you can't buy manure anymore and still want to keep your garden organic, you go with what you have, and seaweed is a great fertilizer.  Just make sure you have a license for gathering sea plants.  It's usually the same one as for gathering shell fish and generally is separate and less expensive than a full on fishing license.

My tomatoes are still going so I am letting them.  I am going to thin out the vines, though, and trim off any flowers left.  The nights are still 48 to 50 and the leaves have not died at all and the days are in the mid to low 70's, so no reason to pull them out.  I do want to plant garlic where the tomatoes and peppers are, but I generally wait until the first nice day after the first frost to plant them.

In a typical year the first frost is Halloween, but it's not feeling like a typical year.  It's feeling like an Indian summer year, which we get about once every 5 years or so.  Then the first frost goes into mid to late November.  It's been as late as December 2nd before on a year that had no snow and barely even froze.  I plant in November anyway when that happens.  The garlic still grows fine.

I do need to get my sage and thyme out of the containers they are in and into one of the garden beds.  They have both burst their plastic containers because they are so big.  I didn't have room for them in the beds this year, but now I will get them in place so I do.

I still have one very determined cucumber plant alive, but if it gets much colder at night it's going to die.  It's got a few small plants on it.  I am thinking of tenting its trellis in some clear plastic, at least until they get big enough to eat.

The zucchini plants have some small zucchini on them, but again, I am not sure if they will get big enough to eat.  Maybe I will tent their hoops, too.  I need to harvest the peppers, too.  Only the cayenne has peppers left.  I am thinking about bringing the jalapeño plant inside for the winter and leaving it under a grow light.  It did not have ideal conditions this year and got overshadowed by it's neighbor plants.  I like doing pico de gallo year round, but the jalapeños in winter are always so dinky.  I know japapños are still a cheap pepper, but I like them big.  I want to do one last harvest of basil before pulling the plants.  They will die the minute it hits 45 at night.  We have maybe another week before that happens.

I'm going to grow some cilantro (for the pico), parsley and basil in my Aerogarden this fall and through the winter.  Then I don't have to buy bunches, I can just snip what I need, and if it grows too big I can dehydrate the rest.  I always feel like I am wasting some with the bunches, because they go from fresh to suddenly slimy when I go to use up.

I am thinking of getting the biggest Aerogarden, so I can grow some cherry tomatoes and some lettuce, too.  I have enough room.  Or if I get the biggest one, I can grow a jalapeño plant, a cherry tomato plant, and bell pepper plant in that, too, along with some lettuces in the front.  That would be nice, because it has the built in lights on a timer, so I only have to put in the water and the fertilizer when it tells me too.  And they have a big reservoir outside the Aerogarden itself that you can buy and hook into it , so you don't have to fill the smaller one in the machine itself, so you aren't watering as often if you want to buy that.

I haven't spent my allowance in a long time, so right now I have $500 in the envelop, and it will be $550 with tomorrow's payday.  The one I want, along with the grow pods I want, plus tax, will cost $869.01.  There's no shipping over $500.  If I want to get the extra reservoir, it would cost an additional $38.84, so a grand total of $907.85.  Which means I need to come up with $357.85 to buy it.  That means if I save my next 5 allowances I'll have $250, which brings it to 107.85, so I can use part of my Christmas money from DH of $200.

We usually order our Christmas presents in November, though, so technically I wouldn't have to use any of December's allowances at all, doing that.  I could just use the Christmas money as usual and add it to the allowance I would have saved by November 25th, which is when I'd be able to order.  I have $10.53 left in the gardening envelope, so that will make up the shortfall of $7.85, so that will work out.  If MIL gives us our Christmas money early so we can order stuff so it will be here by Christmas, I could use that as well.

That's usually somewhere around $200 each for me and DH and $100 or $150 for the kids.  Not sure about this year, though.  Her stocks probably got hit as hard as ours were, but she still has to take out $15,000 a year and she doesn't need that to live on between social security (she was able to claim FIL's) and she got FIL's pension since he was still employed when he died.  That's a little over $3000 a month and she has no debt.  She doesn't even spend all of that.

Or I could just use the money in the beef envelope for next year's steer and buy it now.  That's $407 and I wouldn't need all of it.  Then I can start saving for it again.  We still have several months before we are ready to get a beef.  I'm planning for late July or August, so I have enough time to replace the money.  Or I could just replace the beef money with my Christmas money and still count the new Aerogarden as my Christmas present from DH and MIL.  Maybe that would be the better choice.  Then I could order now and I'd get it going much sooner.

I had been saving up my allowance for a new computer.  Not that there is anything wrong with this computer, but I just feel like there should be a replacement fund for when it goes belly up.  I'd like a nicer one than I could afford last time.  I am used to nicer ones.  But I can start saving up for that again.  I'd rather be able to grow some vegetables and herbs indoors and not have to go to the store just for greens or the fresh herbs I use the most or pay for bell peppers, which are ridiculous these days, especially in winter.

DD needs a new computer soon.  Hers is ancient.  I'm really surprised it is still going.  It's a desktop and it is about ten years old and she's so close to maxing out the memory, despite doing all the things to compress and get rid of unneeded junk files.  I've got money for that set aside and we are waiting for the Black Friday sales online or Cyber Monday or whatever.

She just wants a new desktop and she knows which one she wants.  And we will take the hard drive out of the old one and put it into the new one so she doesn't have to transfer everything the hard way after running all the utility fixits in case that helps.  I'm giving in and trying that.  It has a free 60 day trial as part of my family Norton licenses and will work across all of our computers.  If we like it, we'll probably keep it.  I want to see if it makes any difference first.  60 days is a good trial period.

Tomorrow is payday.  I am going to try to get back in the habit of posting my payday reports for accountability.  I haven't wanted to and I still don't want to.  They won't be pretty for a while with so much going to the credit card, but we'll get there, one payday at a time.

I have a beautiful pot roast in Instant Pot 1 and am about to put Yellow potatoes in Instant Pot 2.  Not mine, these are still from the store, since ours have to have the skin harden for two weeks for proper long-term storage.  They will also be easier to peel.  But what I am making are new potatoes from this season and not the old ones from the potato sheds that were grown last year.  So they taste great.  When I get through what I have left, ours will be ready.

Well, I'm off to peruse the grocery ads.  Hopefully there will be some good sales.  I'd love some boneless skinless chicken or some pot roast so I can can some up.  I am out of canned chicken and I don't have enough beef to make me happy.  I'd also like to can some carrots.  There are not enough on my shelves to get through until next year's harvest.  I saw they were putting out ten pound bags of organic ones when I shopped two weeks ago, but I was running out of grocery money and wanted to have enough if I needed it for the second week.

They also had 25 bags of regular juicing carrots, but it is hard for me to can 25 pounds of carrots in one go and I prefer organic since carrots pull up everything that is in the soil.  Farmers plant carrots to clear contaminants from the soil.  They don't sell those ones, but even the ones planted regular can still pull up stuff they don't know is in the fields.  Parsnips are good at that, too.

We will can about half of the potatoes we harvested, except the reds and store russets.  They don't can as well.  Yellows can the best.  I will try canning a batch of the canela russets and see.  Our green bean harvest wasn't great this year because we planted so late.  I do have a full shelf, but I wanted two.  So I will probably stock up on canned ones for the store so I can have a full shelve of those.  I have about 24 cans of those and it fills 1/4 of the shelf, so I'd need 72.  If I buy two cases every time I visit Winco, that should do it.  We didn't plant corn this year, but we don't eat as much of that.  We have 12 cans of that and I think another 12 cans would be sufficient for a years supply for us.

Okay, now I'm really off.

Another New Instrument

February 15th, 2022 at 05:03 am

My MIL gave me a mandolin for my birthday on the 12th (I'm 52 now) and I started practicing yesterday.  I can do a G chord, a C chord, and a D chord.  Yesteday I got the fingering down and today I got the switching between chords down.  I have no calluses on my fingers, because the only instrument I've really been working on before this is the bass and tenor ocarinas, so I need to build up those again.

Tomorrow I will work on my speed, but it sounds good and isn't too hard to tune.  I like it better than the strumstick (mountain dulcimer) which only has four strings and was always falling out of tune.  The mandolin has 8 strings, but they are double strings so the top two are both G, then the next two are D, then A, then E.  It gives it more depth of sound, like two people strumming in unison.  It's strung like a violin note wise, which I have played for years.

It's a good little instrument for a beginner's instrument.  And a gorgeous cherry red with black edges.  If they had made a blue one in the price range I would have gotten that, but that was only in the professional level and that is $1500, not the $139.  Mine does have the stuff for plugging it into an amp, too.  We don't have one, though, and I just want to do acoustically anyway.

I love being able to play music.  It gives me something to do when I'm bored or, like today, when the power goes out for 1.5 hours, because some teenager in an SUV tried to run a red light and got plowed into by a Hummer and got knocked into a power pole, because the intersection is not 90 degree angles, it's off by quite a bit.  You could hear the crash from my house a couple blocks away.  My son went to be a looky-lou.  No one was hurt bad enough to go the the hospital and the Hummer isn't too bad off.  The SUV did not fare so well, but the speed there is only 25 mph.  It could have been worse.

My other gift from MIL was a turquoise 3 cup food processor, for when I don't want to pull out the 8 cup one.  This one is a lot lighter weight and easier for me to move by myself.  I can't lift much weight with this arthritis without dropping things.  It'll be nice for mincing a pound of meat fine.

DH gave me a teal leather ottoman for me to use under my desk.  It is gorgeous and has a storage compartment in it.  I needed something to put my legs up on when they fill with fluid, so this does the trick nicely and it has a good amount of padding on top so is really comfortable.  My mom doesn't give gifts anymore.  The kids are working on something, but didn't have it ready.

Today I finally had physical therapy again.  I haven't gone since November.  Then I got the flu, then we had snow that made it impossible to go anywhere.  Then I got a head cold.  And now I'm back among the living.  We did an assessment.  He said my range of motion has improved a lot since the beginning.  Pays to do your exercises even when you can't go in and are sick all winter.  I also took DD to her doctor's appointment.  We will be billed for these appointments, as the deductible has to be met again.  But we have $3000 on the HSA debit card again, plus a couple hundred that rolled over from last year, so we are using that.

I'll likely be the first one to meet the deductible as I have already had $1400 just for me, $1003 of which was for my arthritis shots, which at least seem to be working for now.  It's completely covered once I max out my personal deductible.  Or we max out the family deductible, but I will max out my own before the family contributes much.

Once DS is over his head cold we can start the process of taking him to the orthodontist and getting braces.  Fun for the whole family.  I have $6000 saved for it and no insurance for it.  So hopefully it won't cost more than that.  The last time I paid for braces it was $3000 for us and $1000 for the insurance and that was when DD was ten.  Has anyone done braces lately?  Especially Invisalign?  It'd be nice to get a little bit of an idea.  I know it varies by location, but ball park is fine.

I have to get a new mouth guard made since mine has cracked after 15 years, but that is only $400 and I've almost saved up for it.  I'd like to get another pair of orthotics made so I can use the old ones in my garden shoes and not have to switch them out.  That won't be until I save up for it after I finish saving for the mouth guard.

Oh, and I had a doctor's appointment with my regular doctor last week and he raised my anti-depressent from 50 to 75 miligrams, raised my gabapentin for nerve pain from 1500 mg to 1800 mg, and doubled my blood pressure medicine to 100/25.  I can feel it making a difference already.  I'm not retaining near as much water and I don't feel dizzy every time I stand up.  So here's hoping that was the problem.

I found two pennies today.  It's the first money I've found of 2022.  I stuck them in my coin jar.  Every penny counts.

Merry Christmas

December 26th, 2021 at 03:14 am

I hope you all have had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Holiday Gear Up is Going Well

December 13th, 2021 at 11:55 pm

The last of our Christmas presents have arrived from Amazon, so no more Christmas shopping to worry about.  Now I just have to get our wrapping paper from the storage unit and get everything wrapped and that portion of the holiday is taken care of.  I have been working down our Christmas paper supply for the last few years.  We used to have two big containers of paper and now we are down to one that is about 3/4 full.  I haven't bought paper in about five years now.  I just want to use up all or most of the old stuff before buying more.  It is expensive.  Plus is we ever don't have enough, MIL has tons and tons of paper that is open to everyone in the family to use.

We finished putting up our front yard lights and decorations last night.  It took about 4 weekend days between rain and hail flurries, but it looks amazing.  Everyone keeps slowing down to look at our house, which isn't a bad thing since people tend to speed down our road.

Our elk is malfunctioning, so if we can get that working we will stick it up front, but it may take more work than anyone is willing to do until next week.  We have to take it apart and then check all the light bulbs in the back half to see which one is out and then see if we can fix the antlers and ears so they will stay in place, which may require a soldering iron, which we don't have, but a small one is not that expensive.  I am still hoping we can figure it out with zipties.  If we can get it working we will just pop it up front and pound in a t-post to secure it to.  All of our lawn ornaments get secured to t-posts because of the amount of wind we get this time of year.  They are too unweildy and will fall over, otherwise.

Either way we did the gutters and porch, including the columns with multi colored lights and then the deck rail is done with blue icicle lights.  One side of the deck has the back of the porch swing facing the road and on it we have mounted a star of Bethlehem with angels on either side slightly lower facing it, blowing horns.  Then on the bannister rails there is a giant red lit bow.  We can't do much else there because of the rose bushes.  On the two porch columns we have a Santa face and a red cardinal.  On the other side of the deck on the rail we have a polar bear with a multi-colored ball and then on the bannister rails are candy canes alternating three red, three green, three red, and three green.  Blue icicle lights drape the rail that goes down the front steps.

In the yard we have wrapped bushes.  We have one yellow, one green, one purple, one blue, and one multi-colored.  We have a couple more bushes we could wrap, but not enough extension cords, I don't think.  Our lawn ornaments are a 3 foot tall lit Christmas oranament, a 3 foot tall lit snow man with a blue cap and red scarf, and a five foot tall Victorian lamp post.  I'm pretty sure you can see the snow man from space, it is so bright.  Everything is on timers so we don't have to worry about turning it off and so it will be out in time to not disturb the neighbors' sleep.

The only things we couldn't do are the peaks of the house.  I have a tool coming for that, but it is for next year.  We have enough lights to do the back porch and handicapped ramp, which would be just for us, not for the enjoyment of others.  That is the way we go in and out of the house and with it getting so dark these days and the back porch light being so dim and currently unaccessible to put in a better bulb, this would be helpful at least until it is light until five again or we clean off the back porch.

The next big task is to put up the Christmas tree and decorate it.  It will look so pretty in the picture window and add to the ambiance of the yard for anyone passing by.  We are digging our own ornaments out of storage this year instead of using Mom's.  We will be using the green tree and not the white one this year, since the green is pre-lit and fast assembly with two pieces and the white one is the kind where you have to put all the individual branches into place.

We don't do real trees due to allergies and the mess and I'm a little put off by cutting down a tree only to throw it away.  When we lived in the mountains and had a wood stove, that was different, because we would end up using the tree to heat our home once it had dried out and the ashes would then go into the compost for the garden.  We don't have that anymore, so I would feel like I'd be wasting a perfectly good tree for a couple weeks of pretty.  It's my mentality to be able to find multiple purposes for things.  Reuse, recycle, or repurpose.

After the tree is up and decorated and the presents are wrapped then I feel like we can just sit back and enjoy the holidays.  I think our only ritual left is to go around and look at all the Christmas lights before the 22nd as a lot of people don't have their lights on if they go away for the holidays so waiting until Christmas or Christmas Eve, you may miss quite a few and going the 26th or after a lot of people have already shut off their lights.

I am thinking about making cookies this year.  I want to try making these chocolate peanut butter balls.  I think they are called Buckeyes.  But I want to try making them gluten free.  If I can find candy wax.  They are basically Reese's peanut butter cups in ball form.  Since I can't eat those anymore due to the chemcial BHTQ (I think that's the one), I'd love to have something similar.  And there is a gluten free sugar cookie with royal icing recipe I'd also like to try.  If I have the stamina, I'm thinking of making rughelach, too, but not gluten free.  I saw one with cinnamon sugar and pecans for the filling and since DD doesn't like pecans, there is no point in making that one gluten free.

I'd also like to try my hand at making challah bread sometime soon, just because I love the look of braided breads, again, not gluten free.  Don't know if that will be for the holidays or not.  I've just always wanted to try it.

Last week was a busy week of appointments and this week is, too.  I've got physical therapy, regular therapy, and DD has a telemed I have to be there for.  At least last week I got to meet up with my eldest sister.  We went to Shari's and we had soup and I had orange juice and she had a strawberry milkshake.  I picked up the tab, since I know she doesn't make a lot of money.  She did find a new job where she doesn't have to get vaccinated, but it isn't making any more than she was making at the old job.  We talked for a couple of hours.  It was dead in the restaurant so we weren't keeping a table occupied and I left the waitress a $12 tip on an $18 bill, so don't feel bad about taking it up that way, either.  She kept us pretty well supplied with water after we finished eating.

My eldest sister is a little further into conspiracy theories than I am comfortable with, especially regarding the Covid vaccines.  I understand the medical reasons people may not want to get it, and I don't think it should be mandated, and of course I wish there were longer trials, but I don't believe it contains a tracker or is population control, that's crazy talk.  They have the ability to be tracking us all day anyway through facial recongition software, our online activities, our phones, and maybe even our credit card Rfid chips if they want to, so what would be the point of injecting anything?  The tech isn't even there.  Probably.

So, mostly I would stear the conversation away from that if she veered that way, because we are trying to build a relationship and that doesn't work very well when one of us starts talking cuckoo bananas.  I guess her daughter is even further into the conspiracy theory stuff than she is.  I haven't seen my neice in a couple of years because of Covid.  I guess when you spend two years locked down at home, on the internet, you can only go one of two ways.  My other sister is even worse and that's one of the reasons we went no contact, because she got super offended that I didn't believe her crazy talk and I wanted her kid vaxxed if he was going to keep living with us.  She didn't want him living with her, but wanted to dictate how he lived with us.  He's living with my eldest sister now and still hasn't gotten a job.  She's starting to see what we were talking about.

I just don't get being perfectly able-bodied and 30 years old and not working.  Not learning to drive.  Not being self-sufficient.  Just leeching off of family.  I'm not sure how he'll find a job now without being vaccinated.  Not that he wants to.  Eventually his savings will run out.  Eventually my eldest sister's patience will run out.  I guess then we will drive him back to his parents and dump him there.  He should ultimately be their problem if anyone's.  Or one of his brothers.  Oh, well.  It's not my problem anymore.

 

What a Busy Week

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.

Thanksgiving Prep and Happy Thanksgiving

November 25th, 2021 at 12:11 pm

It's 2:45 a.m. and I am still up doing Thanksgiving prep.  I just turned off the pressure oven (did not use the pressure setting) and left the door ajar, so my gluten free pumpkin cheesecake bars can cool for an hour before they go into the fridge and then I can go to bed.  The gluten free lemon bars were finished right after dinner.  I did up the gluten free stuffing so it can go into the turkey first thing in the morning and the potatoes are getting peeled and will go into water and into the fridge so they can be dumped and rinsed of starch before being cooked tomorrow.  I may do a dressing with gluten bread tomorrow if my hands still work, but maybe not.  We'll see.

I left my husband a detailed set of instructions for what to do when he gets up, so I can sleep in.  I don't do mornings, my joints take too long to warm up and function with the RA, and this is how we did it the last two years and it has worked out fine.  He's been in bed for a while now so he could get decent sleep.

My husband will go out to fetch mother in law about an hour before the turkey is done cooking and then he will call me when he is about to leaveher house so I can start on the gravy while my son prepares the green beans and canned corn.  Based on timing, they should get here as I am finishing up the gravy and then DH can mash the potatoes and cut the turkey and we are good to go.  It goes like clockwork when all goes well.

It's been a busy week and this week has had some medical revelations that did not really surprise me, just confirmed what I had figured for awhile.  One being that I have another as yet undiagnosed autoimmune disease.  It is not Sjogren's.  Further testing is required, but the rheumatologist is not going to do anything about it until my appointment in February.  I really don't think I have an expedient rheumatologist, but it is either this or go to Seattle.

As for the other, I'm not 100% sure yet, I see the doctor on the 30th and the therapist on the 1st.  The therapist was going to consult with the psychiatrist she works with and see about getting me on an anti-depressant right away, because I had one of the highest depression scores she's seen in years.

I heard on Tuesday from the doctor's office that they want to put me on a certain drug, but the doctor wants to meet with me to talk about it first.  I see him on the 30th and the therapist on the 1st.  I have my suspicions based on the drug and these are suspicions that have always been in the back of my head since I was thirteen, but I grew up with parents who don't believe in mental illness, despite sending me to a psychiatrist when I was fourteen.  Mom bullied him into telling her everything I'd said, I promptly quit talking to him, and she refused to have me medciated.  It took a lot for me to even decide to see a therapist now due to that, but the fact that we have HIPAA laws now and who would she tell helped.

We'll see if it turns out I am right.  I don't want to jump the gun.  Sometimes I think it would be great to finally have a diagnosis and other times I just don't want to know.

The furnace quit working.  They had to order a part.  We have space heaters and the gas fireplace so the house is warm, but it is kind of an irriatating thing to have happen right before Thanksgiving.

Oh, well.  The pumpkin bars are cooled now, so time to put them in the fridge and get to bed.  I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

 

General Update

July 4th, 2021 at 03:00 am

This was not a good week.  Mom has got it into her head that she wants to give us the house now, like next week, using a quit claim deed.  I keep trying to tell her she'll get smacked with a massive gift tax if she does it like that.  She's going to go see someone she said is an elder lawyer.  I'm not even sure what that means, unless what she means is an estate planning lawyer.  I told her she needs to ask him about the unified estate tax credit instead, but she isn't really in a listening mood.  I would prefer she just write her will and leave it to us there.

I'm not terribly thrilled about this turn of events, because I don't think we can afford the property taxes this year.  I'm trying to save up for DS's braces and get the EF fully funded, then save up for next year's medical deductible.  Plus it is looking like DD has a torn miniscus.  She has an MRI coming up soon to be sure.  Then she'll likely need surgery since it is pretty much a given that physical therapy doesn't work for a torn miniscus if it is so bad you can barely walk.

I finally got an appointment with the neurosurgeon.  It should not take a month to get a referral through, but my doctor's office had their heads up their butts and it took nearly 3 weeks for the referral to be sent, when it was supposed to take 1.  Than another week and a half before the neurosurgeon's office got their end sorted.  It's at 9:30 in the morning, so that is going to suck.  It is very hard for me to get moving in the mornings due to the fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.  Plus I am a night owl not an early bird.  It's in a week so at least I don't have long to wait now.

I had a couple of days where my back pain was so bad I was crying, but it has at least eased off.  Those days coincided with the temps of 92, 97, and 100°F in our heat wave.  Mom gave in and let us put an air conditioner in our (not really a kitchen) kitchen window.  It's the only window in the house that will work with our unit from the old place.  It didn't do a ton, but enough to make it liveable.  It was still 80 degrees in the house and we had to use all the fans we had.  But at least we could go to the kitchen and cool off and DD's room, which is opposite that window, was comfortable so we would go in there a lot, too.

It's doing better yesterday and today and I can reach with my right arm again.  It's down from a 10 to a 7 with pain levels so it is bearable with medication.  DS has been watering the garden, but I haven't really been able to even go outside.  I may try tomorrow.  At the very least I will walk to the end of the driveway where DH will set up chairs and watch the firework show over the bay.  It was cancelled last year due to Covid, so I was very happy to hear they are doing it like normal this year.  It is always so pretty and we don't have to deal with traffic or any of the negative aspects of city events like crowds, smokers, overly perfumed people, bratty kids, and drunken adults.

I don't think we will do a BBQ or anything for Independence Day.  It really depends on how hot it is to be playing with charcoal and fire.  I do have steaks, so we could.  Just not sure it is worth going to all that effort right now.  I'm not up to it, but DH might be.

I have started writing again after a six month block.  I'm not sure I really like any of it yet, but the point is to get back in the habit of daily writing.  I was doing pretty good until the pain got bad and had to stop, but I have started back up again as of today.  We'll see if it leads anywhere.

We got a dividend check in the mail from Louisianna Pacific.  A whopping 51 cents for 3.1 shares.  I am actually thinking about getting some more maybe next year.  We can sign up for a $25 a month autowithdrawal if we want to.  It has always paid a dividend and that has been steadily rising over the years.  We used to Drip it, but they discontinued the Drip about seven years ago.  It'll go to the EF eventually, but I am not going to make an extra trip to the bank to deposit it.  It can wait until next Friday when I do the payday stuff.

Not much else going on.

 

It's Snowing

December 22nd, 2020 at 01:34 am

I have to admit it is pretty and it makes the Christmas lights look even prettier, but I am not the world's biggest fan of snow.  One day snow is just right, in my opinion.  Then it can melt and go away.  The roads were bad and we went early to the chiropractor to try not to be on the roads after dark.  I am bummed about missing the "Christmas star" today, though.  Jupiter and Saturn were in alignment for a couple of hours today and were supposed to create the effect.  Won't happen like that again for another 80 years.  Hopefully it is on youtube somewhere from a place that had clear skies or maybe NASA has it.  Not quite the same as seeing it in person.

I think it will probably all melt tomorrow based on the weather forcast and I can go get done what I wanted to get done, namely, buy the standing rib roast, and yellow potatoes for Christmas dinner.  Tomorrow is the last day of the sale.  I have corn and green beans, so we are set for that.  We'll probably need some egg nog and some more milk, too.  And I want to pick up some PH water, too as it helps with the heartburn.

So today was obviously a no spend day, but only because I had to put it off.  We did finally get the Christmas tree put up.  It has lights but no ornaments and I'm not sure I'm going to bother.  It looks pretty as it is and I am just really tired.  No one else seems to want to do it, so I'm kind of meh about it.  I wasn't even going to bother with a tree, with my sister and her stuff here there really isn't room, but got pestered about it by my mother.  I just don't have the energy to put them up and take them down, and my back still doesn't like me reaching so that's the way it is going to be.  I can't do it all by myself and I won't.

The Weekend Went by Fast

December 7th, 2020 at 09:15 pm

I should have known that freezer availability was too good to be true.  It won't be delivered until January 12th now instead of December 8th.  How do you make that big an error in your scheduling?  Obviously they didn't actually have the freezer in stock.  But it is still available much earlier than anywhere else, so I will deal.  It's not like I have much choice and at least I will end up with one before I really need it, which is summer, when I plan to buy a beef.  I think Mom was more disappointed than I was.

We worked on outdoor Christmas lights some this weekend.  We've been trying to get the solar panels angled right for the bush net lights for days.  As of Saturday night we have four out of the five getting a proper charge that allows the lights to be lit until midnight or so when the battery runs out.  The fifth bush is actually pampas grass so it really is hard to get the solar panel to stay in place.  Last night I had the idea to get a tall garden stake and clip the solar panel to that, so tonight we shall see how well it does.

Yesterday we put up the elk, which is taller than me by several inches, and then the Christmas ornament which is about 3 feet tall.  Those were from last year.  This year we purchased a Victorian lamp post from Costco.  They had it last year and I wanted it then so I said if they had it again this year I would buy it.  So the guys put that together last night while I sat in the car with the heat on and the lights shining so they could see.  It is almost as tall as I am.  Then we got that one set up in the yard and we cabled everything together and then cabled the elk to the porch.

We had Christmas stuff stolen many years ago and ever since then we cable it all together and secure the end of the cable.  It makes it really hard for people to do a snatch and grab.  These things are not cheap.  The longer they would have to stand in the front yard trying to get stuff apart, the bigger likelihood they have of being caught in the act or heard from my son's bedroom window, and the more likely they are to move on.

So the goal for today is to put the blanket lights on the deck rails and get the angel, the santa, the season's greetings rope light sign, the Cardinal, and the reindeer attached to the porch columns and the porch swing, and the sign goes in the yard.  I'd really rather have a Merry Christmas sign, but after the original one was stolen I could only every find a Season's Greetings one.  And possibly the row of candy canes.  The icicle lights for the house and porch roof will be the last things to go up and that might have to wait for the weekend or at least Friday.  DH tends to finish his 40 hours by around 3 p.m. Friday and we really need some daylight to put those up in.

One day I hope to find a really nice rope light Nativity.  They had one about 15 years ago and the following 5 years that I really liked, but couldn't afford at the time.  It was extensive, not just Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus in the manger, but it had a camel, the wise men, and a palm tree, too.  And possibly a sheep and donkey.  Now that we can afford it, I haven't been able to find one.  They did have a really nice rocking horse at Costco that I might get next year if they have it again.  At least if I can't find something else I like better.

I am almost caught up on dishes.  I've been running behind all week.  I have one more load to do and then I can give the sink a good scrubbing.  I made two pots of beef stew this weekend.  Everyone was just like "can we have stew again" so I was like why not?  I made a big enough batch the second night that there were enough leftovers for DD for tonight, so I can make tacos for the rest of us.  She gets heartburn very easily these days, so she never wants to eat tacos or chili or things like that.

We are going to try to get the tree up this week as well.  That is fairly straightforward as we have one of the new artificial kind that sort of just fold up and are pre-lit.  We got it last year and it was so easy and it looked nice, too.  And we don't have to deal with pine needles and watering a tree and a tree that is too bushy for the space we have for it.

I am waiting on only two Christmas presents to be delivered and those are supposed to come on the 15th.  Then I shouldn't have to worry about anything else to do with Christmas except wrapping.  And the two gifts coming on the 15th are really too big to be wrapped, so those will just get bows put on them.

I got my Mom a set of four Oneida salad forks.  Her salad forks have been disappearing for a while now, and she's been complaining about not being able to find them, so hopefully this will help for a while, until she manages to lose these ones, too.  She likes to eat with them instead of dinner forks.  I don't know how she loses them.  She only ever eats at the table or her tv tray in front the television set.  There are not a lot of places they can go.  I have a feeling she probably let them go down the garbage disposal, got them banged up, threw them out and just forgot.  She has done that with spoons before.  Anyway, it feels like the perfect gift for her, even though technically we aren't supposed to exchange gifts anymore, I always still get her something.

I Made It

November 27th, 2020 at 04:05 am

It was a long day, but I am glad it is done.  Thanksgiving went pretty well despite Mom's early day sniping.  She actually behaved quite well during dinner and was verbally thankful for all my efforts.  The gluten free stuffing was so good.  I was worried, I'm always worried when I try something new, but it worked and everyone loved it, including my Mom and sister.  And the from scratch gluten free gravy came out really, really well.

I've taken all the turkey off the bones, and have gallon bag of white meat, one half gallon bag of dark meat, and one bag of bones to make stock with.  I have two large takeout soup containers full of gravy and one full of pan drippings for making more gravy.  I have enough mashed potatoes and stuffing for two more dinners for the whole family or several individual homemade tv dinners.  All the corn got eaten and only a small amount of green beans were left.

Tomorrow we will have leftovers as is and then I think I will make turkey taquitos, turkey enchiladas, turkey soup, and leftover turkey tater tot casserole on Saturday.  Some of those will go in the freezer for future meals.

MIL didn't end up making it in.  She didn't sleep well and decided she just wanted to stay home and rest.  That's mostly what I wanted to do today, too.  I got the stay at home part.  But the food was sooo good.  I have really learned to make gluten free yummy after a year of effort.  It was worth it, but I don't think I even want to move tomorrow.  We'll see if I even can.

I think I forgot to mention, I completed my Christmas ordering yesterday.  It is nice to have that done.  Now to hope everything actually arrives on time.

A Moment to Breathe

November 27th, 2020 at 12:10 am

I finally had a moment to sit down and breathe.  It's been a crazy couple of days with doctor appointments and trying to get the house in order.  Well, half order, half chaos.  Yesterday I made desert and the really cool thing was I made my own pumpkin puree from a sugar pie pumpkin.  I just put the whole pumpkin in the Instant Pot, set it for 12 minutes, did a natural release for 5, and then a manual release.

The pumpkin was so tender I was able to cut it with a butter knife and then very easily scrape out the strings and seeds.  So much easier than trying to do it the traditional way.  I put the pumpkin in the blender with a half cup of water and pureed it to the perfect consistency.  It was nice to have that option as I haven't been able to find canned pumpkin in months due to the shortage.  I ended up with enough for my desert and enough to put in the freezer for Christmas to do it again and then my daughter ate the last 1/2 cup.

I used Snickerdoodle gluten free cereal (Safeway store brand) to replace the graham cracker crust for my pumpkin cheesecake bars and they came out beautifully.  They taste really good, too.

Also last night and baked a loaf of gluten free bread and then combined that with a store bought loaf and tore those up to have ready to make the stuffing this morning.  I got that done first thing and into the bird.  It got into the oven around 1:00 p.m.  Should be done by five.  I finally got about 8 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes peeled, cut up, and in the Instant Pot.  I love making them there.  It is so much easier than boiling them on the stove and having to babysit them.  The mash very easily, too, much easier than just boiled.  They should be ready by the time the turkey comes out and I make the gluten free gravy.

And while I'm making that I can heat up a quart of our home grown, home canned green beans and a can of corn.  I don't get super fancy anymore with Thanksgiving.  We've streamlined.  We don't do rolls when we already have bread stuffing.  We don't do sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes.  We don't do cranberry sauce.  We don't do ham.  I make one desert, cheesecake bars, not 4 kinds of pie (pumpkin, chocolate cream, key lime, and blueberry) and two types of fudge, and no fruit plate just little oranges, and no veggie plate.  It's just too much when I have no help except DH.  And no one seems to miss all the extra effort.

In about a half an hour I'll need to get back to it, but right now it is nice to just sit and relax for this little while.

Animal Free and Christmas Purchasing Time, I Suppose

November 21st, 2020 at 11:41 pm

We sent the last two rabbits off to a new home today and are now animal free for the first time in a decade.  I'm not sure this place qualifies as a homestead anymore, just a huge garden now.  But whatever, it is nice to no longer be tied down.  We can take a family vacation again if we so desire without one person having to stay home to care for the animals.  It is a nice sense of freedom and one less stress to deal with.  And less stress is good in a house with seven people in it.

My mom is making noises about having chickens again, but if she does they will totally be her responsibility.  We aren't having anything to do with it.  I'd really rather not have them as they tear up the yard and take away from the garden space and their feed attracts rats.  I think my mom forgets that.  I also think she forgets what she is and isn't capable of anymore, but again, she'll have to relearn that the hard way.  And people will always take laying chickens off your hands.

It'll be nice not to have those feed costs anymore.  Although they had narrowed significantly with only two rabbits, now they will be totally gone and I can remove from the budget.  We were spending maybe $35 in a three month period, so it wasn't a ton, but that is still $140 a year that can now go somewhere else.

We ordered our new mattresses directly from Purple since they were having early black Friday sales.  Not sure when they will ship, but they'll get here when they get here.  Can't be soon enough, though, with the way my fibromyalgia has been lately.  We also went ahead and got the pillow/sheets bundle, because you get quite a discount with those if you buy a mattress.  Since the mattresses do not take those huge deep pocket sheets that seem to be all you can find anymore, I felt that ones that actually were guaranteed to fit properly were the way to go.  We had been planning for everyone to get new pillows for Christmas as well.

MIL gave us some money to go towards the mattresses and that combined with the $1000 I saved was enough to cover it all, so once these three arrive, all four of us will have new mattresses.  DS got his a while back.  I'm glad MIL gave us the money or it would have taken a long while to save up enough for all of us.  I would have only been able to get one now.

I do need to start ordering Christmas gifts.  DD and DS are each getting a new comforter and a waterpik for Christmas.  I need to figure out what to get MIL.  I know what I am getting my Mom, a 4 piece setting of salad forks, because she's lost several over the years and it is her preferred fork to eat with.  DH and I are putting our money for ourselves towards a propane grill.  DH also put his birthday money towards this and I will put mine in in February.  We are also going to put in the money his mother gives us for Christmas.  That should give us a total of $1200 after my birthday.  More if I put my birthday money from MIL in.

I have no idea if that will be enough for what I want, but I think it should.  We want a big enough grill that we can cook enough for a family of four on it at once and not in turns.  I also want a burner and a side table, storage underneath, and a place to attach a smoker in the future if we chose to do so.  If it is not enough, then we will just have to save longer.  And if it is more than enough than it will go into another savings goal.

I like to cook outside in the spring and summer and early fall, but only having a charcoal grill can make it a lot harder.  They take a long time to get going and then you have to babysit them while they die out.  Propane is on and off, just like that.  While I do prefer charcoal for taste, it is just so inconvenient.  We'll probably use it for burgers and hotdogs, but for serious meals like steak, zucchini, onions, and corn on the cob, propane will be the way to go to get it done quickly.  If the object is to just not heat up the house when it is hot, this is the best solution.

I will be ordering some LED net Christmas lights.  I want to do five different colors for our five bushes in front of the house.  They are more expensive than regular, but they last longer, the bulbs don't tend to blow, and they are prettier, brighter colors.  We bought some last year for the deck and they just looked so much better than the old kind.  I think Christmas will be subdued for a lot of people because of Covid lockdowns, so I want to be a cheery spot in the neighborhood for people to enjoy as they drive by.

I took my frozen turkey out of the fridge to thaw yesterday.  It is 25 pounds so it needs this long to be thawed by Thursday.  I wasn't really sure if I was even going to do Thanksgiving this year, but the prednisone the rheumatologist put me on really seems to be helping.  I hope I can make a gluten free stuffing that tastes as good as the regular stuffing I usually make.  It will be disappointing if I can't.  I will be working on my bread recipe over the next couple days.  I'm close to getting a perfect bread machine gluten free loaf, so there is hope.

 

Payday Report for 10/2/2020

October 3rd, 2020 at 12:46 am

$318.49 Tithe
_500.00 Utilities
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_700.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_115.17 Internet
__36.00 Garbage
_100.00 Car Insurance Fund
_100.00 Gas Money
_100.00 Spending Money Adults
_120.00 Allowances Kids
_200.00 Christmas/Gift Fund
_100.00 Clothing Envelope
_300.00 Cell Phone Fund
--------------
3164.66 Total Money Out

The Christmas/Gift Fund is now up to $900. I will definitely meet my goal of $1200 by Christmas (one of the things DH and I are getting is a propane BBQ so that is why that amount is so high. I want to get a good one. And part of that is for Christmas dinner, too. We get a prime rib roast for that, a new tradition we started last year, because I didn't feel like making another turkey and stuffing so soon after Thanksgiving. It was nice not to have to.

Getting Ready for Christmas

December 15th, 2019 at 05:45 am

We didn't make it to Costco today, so we will try tomorrow. Instead we got our Christmas tree put up. Well, not our good Christmas tree, but one we got on clearance at Lowe's for $55.00. It was one of their floor models. It's a simple four piece tree that comes prelit with both plain bulbs and multi-colored bulbs. They are bright, but then all LED lights are. It's nice to set something up so quickly, especially since our good, big tree is in the back of the storage unit.

We used Mom's ornaments as ours are also in the back of the storage unit. Then DS set up one of his trains underneath the tree. It looks really nice through the front widow and adds to the Christmas lights in the yard from the road. I'm trying to convince Mom to put up her giant wreath above the mantle, but not sure I'm going to get her to dig it out. It's really beautiful and has a ton of decorations.

We haven't put up a big tree in several years. I have my little 2 foot tall tree that we don't even take the lights and ornaments off each year, just place it on the top shelf of the closet and then pull it down again when we need it. That's all we have been using. It's just a hassle when the space is limited. And Mom didn't want one at her end for the last couple of years, either. I wouldn't have put one up at all if she and DS hadn't decided they wanted one. It's hard to feel Christmassy in this house most years. I don't have a lot of Christmas spirit like I used to.

We need to pick up a real tree for MIL tomorrow and take it out there. I'm not even sure where to go since the stores aren't selling them this year and I haven't seen a boy scout lot either. There is a big fruit stand store that has sold them in the past so maybe there. I have seen several cars with them on top so someone is selling them. If worst comes to worst we can go pick one up at the tree farm near where we used to live. It's a bit of a drive, but I know they will have them there.

We have completed all of our Christmas shopping which is good. Everything has arrived in the mail or will arrive by Monday.

I did go and order some new bras since Lane Bryant was having a buy one get one 75% off sale on them. I paid $81.39 for 4. It would have cost 119.81 without the sale. Bras in the higher sizes are always so much more expensive for not really that much more material. Oh, well, it was a good sale with free shipping. Much better sale than the usual buy one get one half off sale.

Now all I have to do is order another set of new socks for me and DD and everyone should be set on clothes for a good while.

Payday Report for 3-22-19 and 3-8-19

March 22nd, 2019 at 11:00 pm

I need to get back in the habit of doing these again. I had a little bit more money go out than was in the paycheck, but was in the checking account. The actual amount of pay for the two week period is $3274.62. It is quite a substantial raise.

$327.46 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_300.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_441.41 Automatic Payments
__61.74 Life Insurance DH
__60.46 Life Insurance Me
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_800.00 Monster Mom Loan
__95.00 Allowances Kids
_100.00 Holiday Fund
_523.67 Citi Visa
-------------
3284.74 Total Money Out

So for the previous pay period the amount was 2687.71, but we also had the tax refund of $1349.00, so I combined those together for the budget and the total was $4036.71. I messed up the tithe by a couple of dollars but rectified that in the 3/22 budget.

$401.70 Tithe
_400.00 Utilities to Mom
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_300.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_280.00 Chiropractor Family Plan
_108.91 Internet
__74.54 Garbage (We had extra pick ups and it's a 2 month bill)
_567.14 Car Insurance
__50.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
_100.00 Gas Money
__90.00 Allowance DS
_200.00 Clothing Envelope
_100.00 Laptop Fund
_500.00 Monster Mom Loan
-------------
4036.71 Total Money Out

And yes, I do save money each month for car insurance, but I just left that in savings, because it was easier to pay it out of the income tax refund than to wait three days for it transfer between banks. It can be part of the EF now.

I Have a Hard Time Spending Money on Myself

December 28th, 2018 at 10:00 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.

Food Holidays

November 24th, 2018 at 03:37 am

Well, I've successfully made it 2/3 of the way through the food holiday gamut. I did not indulge in Halloween at all and I had a very balanced plate of food on Thanksgiving (no desserts, my carbs went to stuffing and potatoes, which I'd always rather eat).

However my day to day choices have sucked this year, I'm eating poorly and I'm back on Pepsi (sugar kind, not corn syrup kind), and all my clothes are tight. The store where I usually clothes shop is going out of business soon so I wouldn't even be able to buy new clothes. And I shouldn't. I have plenty of clothes one size down, so I signed up for a $30 Dietbet.

It will hopefully give me motivation to get back on track every day of the week. It starts on the 25th. I wavered a bit on choosing the one I did and one that starts on the 26th. The one I chose has less players and a smaller pot, but that always feels more intimate than being lost in a horde.

Mine's called The End of Year Showdown with Cristinadown100 and is a 4 week Kickstarter. I need to lose 13.5 pounds in that amount of time. I should be able to do that because I'll be getting back off the soda and that is usually ten pounds of retained water right there.

Normally I don't like to do Kickstarters, I like to do the Transformers which last six months, but I don't have that amount of money in my blow money envelope. I always like to prepay the entire six months because then you get one month's discount. So the plan is to do the Kickstarters. leave the money in, and hopefully earn enough to pay for a Transformer.

Thanksgiving was okay this year. MIL bailed the night before, which was disapointing, because I'd bought a ham specifically for her. She decided to spend the evening with her daughter instead, even though they are doing a Thanksgiving for that side on Saturday and SIL will be there. I don't know. It was very hurtful. The kids and DH were not happy.

It's the same kind of favoritism she often shows towards her daughter over her son and her children over ours. I should be used to it by now, but I'm not, because it hurts my family. I am choosing to not make a fuss, though. MIL has been very generous to us financially this year. I guess it is okay if she just wants to throw money at us and not see us. I'm not sure what that means for Christmas, but I'm bracing for a repeat.

I did find MIL a lovely gift for Christmas, though. It is a beautiful blanket with a carousel horse on it. She collects carousel horses and music boxes and it has gotten harder and harder to find her one she doesn't have or that plays something other than the carousel waltz, which she has come to loathe. DS ordered the camera he wants with his Christmas money so that should be here soon. I have purchased part of my own gift which is a queen size electric blanket. The other part of my gift is season 11 of The Big Bang Theory.

DD wants to get an electric blanket like the one I got for me and a really good heating pad. DH is narrowing down what he wants and then he'll order that and Christmas shopping will be done for the year. We don't exchange gifts with my side of the family. We quit years ago. I will likely make some fudge for my mother, though. We are on budget, so I am thrilled. We might even have $50 left.

I don't think I am going to make a turkey with all the trimmings for Christmas this year. Tearing up the bread for the stuffing and doing all the stirring for the gravy did a number on my wrists and I'm not sure I want to repeat that any time soon. Even with DH and DS peeling and chopping the potatoes, it was just too much.

I think things are just going to be very low key. We'll go out and look at lights this year, though. We skipped that the last two years and I miss doing it. Although it'll probably be a few days before Christmas. So many people go away for the holidays that you can miss some really good displays if you wait until the day of or the night before. I just want to keep it all simple. I'm tired of putting out effort, to be honest.

Pre-preparing for Thanksgiving

November 21st, 2018 at 03:52 am

I took the turkey out of the freezer on Saturday and except for a bit in the center it is thawed out. So one more day and it should be fully defrosted. The ham is also thawed. I'll be making the picnic ham in the crock pot, 4 hours on low with one cup of water. It comes out perfect that way every time.

Tomorrow I will be tearing up bread for the stuffing and making it so that all I have to do on Thursday morning is put the stuffing in the bird.

DH and DS are on potato peeling and chopping duty. That is the hardest one for me to do with my hands the way they are.

I am going to do the green beans in the instant pot from fresh. They turn out beautifully that way and I can do them ahead of time and then just keep them on warm.

We are keeping it very simple this year. Ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, gravy, and sliced oranges. Normally I do corn, but last year there was a lot of corn left over and this year my biggest corn eater can no longer eat corn, so I'll just eliminate it and save myself the extra step. I need DH to find out if his mother wants a can of cranberry jelly. None of us eat it and I can't remember if it was her or FIL who liked it.

I haven't decided about desert yet. I might ask mom to make an apple or blueberry pie (she has home-canned pie filling on hand and I think I have TJ's frozen pie crusts in the freezer) or I might make pumpkin cheesecake. I have to get out to the store and see if I can find the right kind of graham crackers for crust. Trader Joe's is the safe brand (or Annie's graham cracker bunnies) but if I go, I have to go early as their parking lot is a nightmare after eleven on a normal day. I can't even imagine how bad it will be the day before Thanksgiving. I also need to get some Yukon gold organic potatoes there.

Then I have to go find the safe type of plain cream cheese, which is at the food co-op. Having kids with allergies is so much fun. At least there are versions of things I can use, though.

I need to go through the freezer and pull out all the bread heels I've been saving for the last six months and let them thaw out tonight for making the stuffing tomorrow and then see if I need to add anymore bread in. I have an extra loaf if needed since we buy two loaves at a time. I already have sage and poultry seasoning. I don't know when they stopped putting sage in poultry seasoning, but it irritates me that they quit. It's been at least four years now since I've been able to find a brand with sage in it.

I am going to make up frozen TV dinners again with the majority of the leftovers. They are very convenient to have during the winter. I have many days during the cold season when I don't feel like cooking, so if I can just whip these out we all have a good home-cooked meal anyway. I can do both turkey and ham dinners, too. We will be making an extra five pounds of potatoes so we will have plenty for these TV dinners, too.

Aside from that I also have planned a regular night of just leftovers, then leftover turkey casserole, turkey noodle soup with warm ham sandwiches, and some turkey enchiladas to use up leftovers. I might make loaded baked potato soup with ham instead of bacon as well. We'll see what is left. I will also dice up leftover ham to use in omelettes and egg bricks. I will freeze the diced ham and take it out as needed. I will dice up some turkey for salads, as well.

If I plan like this going in, then I don't waste and that is important when you are using an expensive organic turkey. Well, that is important period. No need to throw any food dollars out the window.