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Meal Planning for the Week

December 3rd, 2019 at 05:54 am

Garlic Herb Baked Chicken
Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans

Beef Stew with potatoes, carrots, celery, and parsnips

Chicken Stir Fry with broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower, cabbage

Sirloin Steaks
Baked Potatoes
Zucchini and Yellow Squash

DH's work Christmas party
Baron of Beef
Roasted Red Potatoes
Green Beans with Almonds
There are lots of other choices, but none of them appeal to me. The kids will fend for themselves.

Bacon Cheeseburgers
French Fries
Cole Slaw

Pork Roast smothered in Onions
Butternut Squash
Green Beans

Monster Mom Loan Payment and Rambling

November 30th, 2019 at 06:57 pm

I had expected to pay $800 this payday towards the Mom loan, but I ended up paying $1000. I had forgotten that since this was a 3 payday month that the last paycheck of the month would be bigger as they don't take any medical out of it. So that extra $200 went towards this loan instead. That means a total of $1500 was paid on the loan this month. By the end of December the loan will be down to 4 digits.

$11,500.00 Balance Forward
-_1,000.00 Payment Made
$10,500.00 New Balance

I have rejiggered the budget again and think that as long as we keep our eating out spending under control we can continue to pay $1500 a month. I just have to keep telling myself that I'd rather be out of debt than to buy a pizza. It doesn't always work, but it works more often than not. I have all the ingredients for making pizza. I do not need to buy one from a restaurant.

Plus I have started back on a diet yesterday, and eating out always makes my weight go up, so that is another incentive to stay out of restaurants and cook at home. I would like to be under a certain weight by my 50th birthday mid-February. I think I can do it if I stick to no restaurant food.

I am thinking about doing a dietbet once I am a few days into eating better again, but I don't know. I am still doing my physical therapy exercises and need to get back to walking. The weather turned beautiful but cold again, so since it isn't raining, I need to start again. Just lacking a bit of motivation.

Freezer Inventory

November 16th, 2019 at 12:23 am

Last night my son helped me to inventory 3 of our freezers, the mini chest freezer, the spare fridge freezer, and the tall upright we split with my mother. We do have a massive chest freezer in the garage and our main fridge freezer we still need to go through, but the big one is mostly meat and butter and I have a rough idea what is in there, since I have it divided up in compartments, two of chicken, 1 of beef, 1 of pork,1 of lamb, 1 of vegetables, 1 butter, and 1 of fruit. The main fridge freezer is a big mess, but is mostly not meal making food. It is ice, ice cream, fruit bars, dumplings, fish nuggets, and more the quick fend for yourself foods I get for the kids. And lots of ice packs. That one really just needs to be reorganized.

I made room for turkeys by restacking and tidying up, although we did throw some stuff out. It was from 2014, 2016, and 2017 respectively, and at the bottom of the mini-chest freezer. I am going to buy 3, one for Thanksgiving, one for Christmas, and one for Passover. This is the only time of year Trader Joe's carries the organic turkeys, so I plan ahead. We can't afford the fresh off the farm ones anymore, but I still want to be sure my food isn't raised on soy or GMO corn, so I budget for the TJ turkeys which aren't as expensive, but are still much more than standard.

I also had more homemade premade meals than I thought. There was 3 mac and cheese, 6 chicken mac and cheese, 2 mini meatloaves (serves 2), 7 Alfredo chicken (no noodles), 1 baked penné (serves 2) and one pork roast dinner with potatoes and gravy. There was also a bag of cooked sausage crumbles for making breakfast burritos, skillet scrambles, and egg bakes, 1 package of seasoned shwarma chicken ready to be dumped into the crockpot or pressure cooker and 1 package of beef carnitas the same. I didn't realize I had any of those left. I need to make up more. I wish I had known because we spent a lot of money eating out the last 3 weeks and there could have been more easy at home meals if the freezers had been organized.

How much money did I waste on out to eat food, you might ask? We spent $566.97 on eating out the last 3 weeks. I was sick and I was (and am) in the middle of a flare for my two lovely autoimmune diseases, but I really still have to make the effort to cook. I feel a little better today so I am going to try to get some more freezer meals made up after we go grocery shopping. Although the shopping may wipe me out. I will get DS and DH to help with making premade meals.

Dinner tonight is already planned as sausage, peppers, and onions, all of which I found in the freezers last night. I like to do something very easy after expending so much energy shopping. I have to pace myself. It's just the way of it when you are dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. I can't do all of what I did before, but if I pace myself and plan ahead, I can do more than I have been doing.

I did find a lot of things I was planning to buy, like bagged bell peppers and onions, roasted potatoes, and a bunch of ground meat (beef, lamb, turkey, chicken) that I was going to buy to make meatloaves and meatballs for the freezer and now I don't have to. And 3 packages of sausage links for breakfasts, too. That means there is the money to buy the 3 turkeys.

I've got my meals planned out until Sunday and then I need to sit down and do a meal plan for the next week. I don't think I posted a meal plan this week because I didn't make one.

Dinner on Saturday will be steaks, roasted potatoes, and a cabbage stir-fry. Dinner on Sunday will be onion smothered pork chops, baked potatoes, and broccoli. I do have apples if anyone wants fruit. At least I feel like the cold is mostly over and I can actually feel up to cooking again.

Payday Report 11/15/19

November 15th, 2019 at 11:23 pm

Okay, so I am going back to doing my payday reports. I was thinking I didn't really need to be accountable anymore, but we have spent so much on eating out the past couple of months that I think I was just fooling myself or fooling you guys, I don't know. It's more I didn't want to be accountable than that I didn't need to, so I'm back at it. I have a couple hundred dollars in checking so that is why the total amount listed below does not match with the 10% tithe if anyone is doing the math. I still have most of that to carry over for next payday, too, if I don't spend it on something stupid.

$327.28 Tithe
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_400.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_600.00 Automatic Payments (4 phones, Hulu, Netflix, Storage)
_280.00 Monthly Chiropractic Family Plan
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_120.00 Kids' Allowances
_566.97 Citi
3369.65 Total Money Out

NaNo Progress (Not Finance Related)

November 4th, 2019 at 11:34 pm

So I started the month at 44,270 words on my novel. The goal this month is to write 50,000 words and hopefully finish or come close to finishing this book. I got off to a slow start but am picking up speed. I did do some plotting and figuring out that I needed to insert a scene to make something make more sense and add a few sentences here and there for an additional character who hadn't been in an early scene. So that took a lot of skimming around the first day and I wrote it the second. The second day was a bad rheumatoid day, but after that I am doing mostly fine.

Word counts so far:
11/1 = 0
11/2 = 266
11/3 = 2037
11/4 = 1624

I am behind schedule by 2745 words, but I think I will be able to catch up, maybe even tonight, but definitely between now and the 7nth, while staying on track daily. I did a one hour writing sprint today already, I think I probably have another one in me. If so I will update the list.

Total word count so far is 3923 and I need to be at 6668. I can catch up now that I am in the flow again, although I will probably have to ice my hands tonight.

Snow Keeps Falling, Snow Keeps Falling, Down, Down

February 11th, 2019 at 05:00 am

...to paraphrase one of my favorite songs from the 80's. The snow started around 3:00 this afternoon and we already have six inches. It's supposed to snow non-stop for the next few days, too. DH and I were out doing our grocery shop. We went to five stores, but the second to last one had closed early due to the weather. We only missed it by about a half an hour, but fortunately that was Whole Foods, which was just a want, not a need, run for sopprasetta.

Usually I will spread out the shopping over a couple of days, but not when the weather is only going to get worse. So here's what I bought at Safeway:

1 Pepsi Throwback (sugar kind, and bad)
2 Pirates Booty
1 Tostitos Lime
2 Classico Alfredo Sauce
2 packages O Organics Popcorn
2 1/2 gallons of O Organics Milk
1 bag of spinach
2 limes
1 box organic blackberries
1 organic red onion
4 organic roma tomatoes
1 lb deli roast beef
1 lb deli roast chicken

I spent $64.86 there. Next we went to Costco and I got:

1 box shredded parmesan cheese
2 4 packs frozen broccoli
1 bag of six bell peppers
1 box of Kodiak Power Waffles
1 bag of sausage patties
1 2 pack of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 packages of Yangtze pork
1 4 pack Kerrygold Irish butter
2 24 packs of organic eggs
2 3 packs of organic chicken sausage links
1 bag of peeled garlic
1 2 pack of prosciutto

I spent $172.99 there. Our next stop was the food co-op. We were looking for tortillas without soy in them, but there's had soybean oil so I only ended up buying:

1 head of organic lettuce

I spent $2.99. Next we went to Trader Joe's and I bought:

3 5 lb bags of Russet potatoes
2 packages of uncured beef hot dogs
4 packages of flour tortillas (no soy!)
2 containers of sunflower oil
1 box pita crackers (no soy!)
1 box rosemary crackers (no soy!)

I spent $43.97 there. So total grocery spending was $284.81, well under my $400 two week grocery budget.

We did pickup some household items as well. At Safeway we got 2 bottles of body wash for DH for $6.51. At Costco we picked up a case of toilet paper and 2 4 packs of Zyrtec for $98.99 for a total of $105.50. TP and body wash came out of the Household Envelope and Zyrtec came out of the Medical Fund Account.

Now I shouldn't have to budge from the house until the Snowpocalypse is over.

The End is in Sight for the Kitchen

January 29th, 2019 at 07:44 am

Last night DS and I got the two big kitchen drawers emptied and wiped out and one has been organized. The stuff that was in the other drawer is in a laundry basket at the moment. It is mostly a bunch of containers that need to be nested and a bunch more lids that I need a small box for so that I can keep them contained in one section of the drawer. I am hoping to find something like that soon.

The lower cabinet was cleaned out as well and there was stuff in there that has been there since we moved here in 2009. I don't think we have ever been in that cabinet since we moved here since it had a broken door that made it awkward to use. It was mostly baking mixes, pudding boxes, and canned goods that were bulging. All of it was full of spiderwebs and egg sacks. Ewwww. That's all been disposed off and scrubbed out and the door is now fixed. Entropy is not my friend.

I did the poor man's version of scrubbing the floor, which it to get a towel sopping wet and soapy and put it down on the floor and rub it around with my feet. I had to let the towel sit in two spots for about twenty minutes to get off some tough spots and they came right out. After that, I rinsed out the towel and then did it again to get the soap up off the floor. The floor is now nice and shiny and I didn't have to use a mop and hurt my wrists scrubbing the two spots. It takes a little more time, but I have to work within my limitations.

Tomorrow's goal is to clean out under the utility table and wipe down the fronts of all the cabinet doors. That should be easy as it is mostly paper bags and recycling under the table and they just need to be gathered and dealt with. Once that is clean then the two recycle bins should be able to stay in there without protruding into the walkway and there will also be room for the four 5 gallon buckets of white flour, white sugar, white rice, and whole wheat flour, that have been taking up residence in the living room for a couple of months.

On next weekend's agenda is to pull out the fridge and get the spot between the cabinet and fridge really well and behind the fridge. Our fridge in on castors so it shouldn't be difficult. Then to do the corner floor cabinet. DH will have to do that as my arms are not long enough to reach back there. It is not bad, but I do want to de-cobweb it and wipe the shelves down and make sure there isn't still some of grandma's stuff in the back. I also want him to clean the kitchen window. I want to launder the valance as well.

There are two top shelves that still have some of grandma's stuff on them that needs to be boxed up and given to my mom to deal with and then that leaves two other high shelves to wipe down, plus the tiny cupboards over the fridge that are about the size of cupboards over a range hood. Very small. Then the kitchen should be done for another year before it needs this kind of deep clean again. And hopefully we will manage to keep it organized in the meanwhile, with just the normal daily stuff of washing the counters, the sink, and sweeping the floor, and washing the floor as needed.

I am really loving having a reorganized kitchen with usable countertops. So many things are now put away and the things that are left out are things that I use every day, or would have if I could get to them. Since starting this, I have used the stand mixer and the blender every day, and the kids have been making coffee. I have easy access to the toaster, which is no longer back in the far corner, and the egg sandwich machine is easy to get to and use. The paper towels are finally back on the paper towel holder, which had gone missing. And there is plenty of room to use a cutting board on the counter instead of sitting down at the table to do so.

And it was just clutter. Badly stacked clutter. Way too much stuff, mostly storage containers and lids. And because I was too sick to deal with it, it stayed there, because apparently no one else can ever put stuff away. I just hope I don't go back to being unable to keep up with this stuff. Today is my last day on Prednisone and I am already dreading what tomorrow will bring, although Wednesday, the day we go down to Virginia Mason, is more likely the day I will crash. At least all I really have to do that day is sit in the van and then sit in doctor offices.

I have hit 5000 steps for the past three days. Since my goal is only at 3000 steps, I think it is time for me to up it. I am actually surprised I have done so much walking. I used to struggle to hit 3000 steps. Maybe it is just the Prednisone. Regardless, I want to keep up with the 5000 steps. Maybe it will make me feel better. My strength has seemed to be recovering from December's plague, but I don't know how real that is. I won't know until the meds are out of my system.

The diet is going okay. I am eating a lot more vegetables, mostly broccoli and cauliflower, but some salads, too. I made fajitas for dinner tonight. Well, DS made the fajitas (after I cut up everything and put the marinade together) and I made the tortillas from scratch. It was my first time making tortillas (though I have done pita bread before). I think it needs to have the salt doubled and I might do half white flour, half whole wheat flour to give it a bit more flavor next time. They weren't hard to do and I only made 8. I think in the future I will do a dough that makes 12 and only make 8 so they will be larger tortillas.

DD decided to try the fajitas. It is her first time eating bell peppers in a long time. DS cooked them until they were soft and hopefully that will help. She does onions just fine. We are just trying to get some more vegetables into her without upsetting her stomach. It has been a slow process.

DH's plane gets in in an hour. I will be glad to have him back home where he belongs again.