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DH Found My Fitbit

January 25th, 2019 at 10:57 pm

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

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

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

Loan Reduction!

January 23rd, 2019 at 07:05 pm

Mom went through all the utility bills for the past two years and realized how much she has actually been overcharging us for utilities. She has given us a reduction on the loan of $2500 to make up for it. She has also reduced the amount we need to give her each month from $500 to $400. But $2.5K! That is 10 percent of the remaining loan balance. And we will be making a payment on payday, so January is getting us way ahead of the game on knocking out that loan. I needed this win right about now.

$25,000.00 Loan Balance
-_2,500.00 Loan Reduction Amount
------------
$22,500.00

Woo Hoo!

Prednisone Helping Plus Some Grocery Shopping

January 23rd, 2019 at 07:01 pm

I am starting to feel a little difference on the prednisone, quite a bit more energy, which I am taking advantage of, but I made the mistake of eating takeout last night and woke up with a very sore throat. I think someone has changed their recipes and added MSG or soy. Another restaurant to tick off the list of safe restaurants. And yes, I know I was trying to get through the whole month with no eating out. I made it three weeks.

Today I started back on my diet. I bought 2 rotisserie chickens and roast beef slices at Whole Foods to help me with that. The only seasonings they use are salt and pepper, and the beef is a real roast they make onsite, so no fillers. I also got some zucchini. I am going to use my veggie sheet cutter and make some zucchini, roast beef, and cheese roll ups for lunches.

I also got some uncured soppressata and some white cheddar and some sharp cheddar, some soups, and sushi rice (but that was for my daughter, I seldom eat rice). I ended up spending a little over $71.

I have really noticed a change in how my body feels since I quit buying only organic or pasture-raised meat. I was trying to save money to use on paying off debt, but I am not sure it has been worth the trade off to my health. I don't know if anyone else would notice it, but with my auto-immune disease, I think it does make a difference to avoid the chemical fertilizers and GMO fed meat.

I don't think I've been in Whole Foods since we started on Dave Ramsey in April, not that I went there often, anyway. I usually went to Trader Joe's, because it is far less expensive. April is when I started buying conventionally raised meat, too. Now that we don't have to worry so much about medical, since that account is fully funded, I think I am going to raise my grocery budget back to $1000 so we can have organic meat and be fully organic on produce again. That will have us adding $600 a month to the medical account instead of $800. In the long run it is an investment back into my health, which does affect medical.

I have an appointment with the rheumatologist tomorrow. I did finally get the approval for enbrel from my insurance company, but nowhere near enough time for her to see how I am doing on it, because I haven't started it yet. That was the original plan before my insurance company got all stupid. That's going to be fun to explain.

I took DD to the sleep doctor today. Because of the nerve pain medicine, she may not need as high a dose of one of her sleep drugs, so she is going to try to wean down to a half dose of it and see how she does, and if it is okay, then wean off it. Since the nerve pain drug has a sedating effect, the other may no longer be necessary. She'll still have to stay on the other one, though.

I was able to make a double batch of breakfast burritos (2 lbs chicken sausage, 24 eggs, 24 tortillas, 2 cups of shredded Mexi-blend cheese) with the help of my son. I taught him how to do the cooking part. He's helped with the assembly since I first started making them. It will be good for the men folk to have those ready in the freezer for breakfasts again.

I also got about half of the counter on the right side of the sink cleared off and deep cleaned. The crockpots are now being stored on the upper shelf of a lower cabinet next to the sink instead of on the counter. I will be able to put my Kitchen Aid stand mixer back over there now. The other half is mostly clutter from plastic containers that have not been stacked together and put away yet. I did get all the lids organized last night. The Costco protein drink boxes (DS drinks these) are the perfect size for that so I used two of them to organize my lids and measuring cups into. I may end up covering them in contact paper to pretty them up, though.

I saw an idea on youtube on using a shallow drawer to store all your spices instead of on a shelf. We use a lot of spices and I was always having to mix the around to find them. Now they are all laid out flat in the drawer with their labels upright and the ones I use the least towards the back. It was big enough to do three full rows, and then a row in the other direction along the ends. I can already see how much it is going to help.

I'd like to eventually just have the mixer, the Keurig, the lid boxes, the knife block and the toaster on that counter. I just have to reorganize the two big drawers and then stack the containers inside each other like they should be. And if I move the knife block over there, I then have room to put the new blender on the left-hand side of the sink. It is too tall to fit under the counter, but there is just enough space for it to fit in the open area next to the sink.

So, yeah, the prednisone is definitely working.

Still So Tired

January 21st, 2019 at 11:56 pm

I have really not been the same since getting so sick at the start of September. So I went back to the doctor today (had to see the on call NP) and I still have a pretty ferocious sinus infection. So she prescribed a double z-pack, plus prednisone. It's been over a year since I've been on steroids. I start them in the morning and I hope I'll get some energy back. It usually takes 24 hours. I wish I could start them tonight. Anyway, it was $13.64 for the meds and it'll be full cost for the visit once it clears insurance because of the deductible. I don't remember how much that is, but it is over $100.

I stopped at the grocery store after that. I picked up enough oranges to get me to payday, along with green onions, two tomatoes, 1 onion, some cilantro, and a lime. I spent under $20, but can't find the receipt. I'm making pico de gallo the day before payday and I wanted two days for the tomatoes to finish ripening. The green onions are for making egg flower soup, which is planned for tomorrow's lunch. I have to make chicken and bone broth in the morning so it is the perfect day to make soup. I will be making it with duck eggs which increases the protein.

I miss the days of it being my own duck eggs, but at least I have a source to buy them from, and I have to admit I do not miss doing the chores associated with keeping ducks, turkeys, and chickens. Or the smell. Well, that was mostly the chickens. I save the duck eggs for baking or egg flower soup, though, as they are $4.59 a half dozen at this time of year. During the regular laying season I can get them for $5 a dozen. Both are pasture raised so they have big orange yolks instead of faded out yellow ones. And they taste a lot better, so they are worth the expense, so long as I don't go overboard on buying them.

Anyway, that is the expenses for the day.

Lucky Robin's Top Ten Money Saving Tips

January 20th, 2019 at 07:17 pm

In no particular order:

1. Make saving automatic. If it comes out of your paycheck and automatically goes into a savings account each payday, you won't have time to miss it.

2. Don't eat out or save it only for special occasions. Special occasions are not Friday nights! They are birthdays and anniversaries and seeing old friends for the first time in two years (again, not every weekend). If you must eat out, have a restaurant budget and do not go over it. But seriously, don't eat out. It is probably the number one way to throw away your money with no end result other than a full stomach.

3. Meal Plan and then stick to your meal plan. Shop according to your meal plan and what you already have at home. Take an inventory before you go shopping so you are not buying things you don't need. Unless you are restocking your pantry. Then buying extra is okay, but plan for it.

4. Always have a list when you go shopping. While this is especially important with grocery shopping, it is also very helpful when shopping for toiletries, including amounts. Have a rule that if it is not on the list it doesn't go in the cart. No writing things on the list while you are at the store, either.

5. Convenience wastes your money so don't fall prey to it unless you are sick. It is not hard to cut up vegetables and fruit, tear up your own salad, chop onions, peel carrots, and those lovely potato peeler machines are worth their weight in gold and make that chore super fast. It takes time, but you can save time by doing up all your stuff for the week at once. A food processor makes chopping food and shredded cheese go very quickly. Think you don't have time? Stop watching TV. Or do it while watching TV. And learn to cook. There is no excuse in this day and age of youtube instructional videos for you to not know how to cook. They have super simple ones like how to make scrambled eggs or cheeseburgers to extremely complex ones, like intricate pastries and handmade pasta shapes. You will find what you need to learn.

6. Don't let laziness waste your money. Do you have things that you've signed up for and are on autopay and you just haven't gotten around to cancelling them for months, if not years? Stop dragging your feet and get it done.

7. Don't be loyal to brands and corporations or limit that loyalty. You can buy the same ketchup all the time, but you don't need to always get the same brand of shoes, jeans, toilet paper, tissue, etc. Unless you have a reason, like allergies, there is no sense in staying with a brand that is consistently more expensive.

8. Manage your leftovers so you are not wasting the food you do pay for and incurring extra waste disposal fees because you throw more stuff away than you need to. If your family does not like leftovers, learn to incorporate that food into new meals. Leftover chicken? Make quesadillas, enchiladas, stir-fried rice, or chicken noodle soup. If something will go bad before you can eat it, freeze it, but make sure you do use it up and it hasn't gone to the freezer to die.

9. Have a budget and stick to it. Plan for everything, including irregular expenses in that budget, by breaking down how much you need to save for it each month. Do not get discouraged if you don't get it right the first month, or the second, or the third. Keep adjusting your categories until you do get it right. Don't give up.

10. Don't impulse buy and don't buy something when it first comes out. For non-emergency purchases wait at least a month. You may find you don't even want it anymore, or something better suited to your needs has come out since, or that the price has dropped dramatically. Or you may find it used and in very good shape elsewhere, like Craigslist (always be careful when meeting strangers), e-bay (check shipping costs), and thrift stores. I saw 12 different models of coffee makers, 8 blenders, 3 bread machines, 4 crockpots, and 2 food processors, at a thrift shop the other day when I was looking for my discontinued plate pattern. Look around and take your time. Buying new is okay, but try to find a deal and always look at reviews for the product. Doesn't matter how good a deal you get if it is something that consistently gets one or two star reviews.

It's Everybody and Every Single Post Ever

January 19th, 2019 at 04:38 pm

Of course this field is missing data.

Surgery Scheduled

January 17th, 2019 at 07:11 pm

I heard back from the scheduler and DD's surgery has now been scheduled for February 7th. I didn't think we'd get in this soon, but I am glad we did. There is also a pre-op appointment on the 30th of January and I post-op appointment on the 22nd of February. So that will mean 3 trips to Seattle in 4 weeks. Ugh. But it will be worth it. I have to double our gas budget for that. We usually spend about $100 a month on gas, but I'll budget $200. That means not contributing to the computer replacement fund this month, but no one needs a new computer at the moment, so no biggie.

DH will have to take 3 days off work. He can work 4 10 hour days instead of 5 8 hour days, though. Or he can take some paid vacation time. It's not like we can afford to go on a vacation and we can't leave the rabbits even if we could, and they don't just allow him to work and take the vacation money, so the money and time off might as well be used for something like this.

I wish I could do the drive on my own, but my RA starts acting up after about 30 minutes of non-stop driving and I start to worry about my reflexes on longer trips, especially on a freeway I am not used to driving on with a much higher traffic volume and inhabitants that think turn signals are optional for lane changes. I avoid driving on the freeway most of the time even in my own city because I just don't like it.

I am hoping we will get an estimate on how much the surgery will cost. I am sure we will have to put down a down payment, too. That seems to be the way it goes these days. But we have $5K in the bank for this so we should be fine. Our portion should be less than that. But honestly, as much as I hate being debt, this is a surgery we would go into debt for, and I don't say that lightly.

Broken Blogs, Broken Blog Goal

January 17th, 2019 at 02:09 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, I think that catches me up.

Not Quite Every Day

January 10th, 2019 at 09:30 pm

I had hoped to be blogging every day this month, but that's a little harder than I thought it was going to be. Most of the time I forget until after midnight, but today I remembered.

Tomorrow is payday and so today I sat down with the grocery ads and went through to see what the sales were. They have been awful for the last 3 weeks, but redeemed themselves this week. I was pleasantly surprised by the meat sales. Boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs are both on sale for $2.99 a pound. New York Strip Steaks are on sale for $5.99 a pound. We usually get the sirloin ones, because they go on sale at $4.99, but when strip steak is just $1 more per pound for a far superior cut, I will go for it. They also have grass fed beef on sale for $4.99 a pound so I am going to stock up.

They have a couple of pork sales going on as well, but I need to see how big they are, whether or not they have bones, and figure out what they mean by half cut chops. I have never seen that term before. They are both really cheap, one was $1.69 a pound and the other was $2.49 a pound, but those prices may even out depending on bones and I'd rather have boneless if it is a roast. If there is bone in a chop it needs to be on the edge. So we'll see on that one.

They have a pasta sauce I like but don't usually buy because of price on sale for 3 for $5, so I am going to check out the ingredients and see whether or not it has soy in it. If it doesn't, than I will go ahead and get some tomato based ones and some Alfredo ones. While I can make Alfredo sauce, it requires having cream on hand, and it is just easier to have jars on hand.

My son's special peanut butter is on a very cheap Friday only sale, so I will probably get four jars of that, too.

We are very low on cheese, so I will have to go to Winco. They have the best cheese prices in town. Since I'll be over there I'll stop at the Dollar Tree and stock up on soup, too. Fortunately all the grocery stores I shop at are on a pretty close loop. Two miles unless I include Costco and the Food Co-op, which is an additional mile, but still easily on that loop.

DH is taking the truck over to get an estimate on repairs tomorrow. They are a body shop that will bill my mother's insurance directly, but also one that is highly recommended in this town. He'll get an estimate on how much it would cost to paint the whole truck, too, since I want to start saving for that and I have not got a clue on how much that will cost. He also has a dentist appointment tomorrow for a cleaning. Good thing he only has to work until 11 a.m.

Still sticking to the meal plan really well. I don't really like the tater tot casserole my family loves, though, so I had tuna fish spread (no bread), a big salad, and finished off the canned pineapple from earlier in the week. Normally I'll make myself fish and chips on a night like this, but I didn't want to put forth the effort after all the cleaning I did today.

I'll clean out the fridge tomorrow before I go shopping. It's not bad, but someone spilled something in there that looks like juice and didn't tell me and it will need a bit of scrubbing and it is easier to do that before all the new stuff goes in and gets in the way.

I'm not sure if I'll do a one day shop or a two day shop. It really just depends on how well my body is doing. My joints have been hurting the last two days so I may not be able to do it all in one go.