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Monster Mom Loan Payment

May 17th, 2019 at 12:34 pm

$19,700.00 Balance Forward
-_1,000.00 Payment Made
$18,700.00 New Balance

I should be able to make another payment of $200 on the 31st. It is good to see the balance dropping so substantially again. Next month should be somewhere around $1500. I want this last debt gone so badly.

Emergency Fund Update

May 17th, 2019 at 12:27 pm

$3541.33 Balance Forward
+__28.00 Amount Added
$3569.33 New Balance

The $28 is what was left in the grocery envelope and the household envelope, before I refill them today. I have $430.67 left to go to hit my mini-goal of $4000 and $2979.91 to go to hit my larger goal of one month's income saved, which would be $6549.24. I know people generally only save expenses and not income for their EF, but for us, we need to save income due to the fact that if there is a job loss again, we will have to pay an extraordinary amount for an insurance plan above the month's normal expenses because of our daughter. When we get to 3 month's income saved I will feel good again, but even better when we have 6 months in the bag. Although I'll probably just round it up to $40K in the long run.

Quiet on the Homestead

May 16th, 2019 at 01:01 am

I haven't been posting. I managed to pull a muscle in my back last Friday (didn't do anything, just happened) and am finally able to move around without being in agony. Today is the first day that sitting in the computer chair wasn't super painful. Hopefully that means I will sleep better tonight. I have been waking up a lot due to shifting and my back twinging. This was not a good week for my chiropractor to go on one of his many vacations.

I used my mom's jetted upright tub with the bench seat a couple of times and her massage chair. It is good to have someone with things like that in the family. MIL has one of those tubs, too.

I was able to manage to do the dishes today and I have been able to cook (but not clean) since Monday, so I think I am starting to get back to normal. I hope so. This Friday is payday and I need to do the grocery shop, although I might have to use the ride on cart.

We haven't spent anything on take out. DH cooked when I couldn't. I hate having him do that on weekdays after a full day at work, but weekends don't make me feel guilty. DH's meals were sandwiches, burgers, and fish and chips, so easy meals.

I am hoping to be able to go out to the garden tomorrow with DS. We need to start ringing the onions. I would have done it last weekend if I hadn't hurt my back. Hopefully DH and I can get the raised bed finished and painted over the weekend. But if I can't, I can't. Maybe DS will help him. Maybe even DD with the painting. I will just have to pace myself and be very careful.

I went online and got the grocery ads so I could start preparing for Friday's shop. There are some good steak prices at Fred Meyer and Safeway and FM has whole wild sockeye salmon on for $4.99/lb so I will get one whole salmon filleted.

I am starting meal prepping this week with help from the kids. Today DD and I made chicken glop for her. Appealing, isn't it? It is just chicken, rice, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. We just plopped everything into my giant mixing bowl and stirred it up until she liked the consistency. Then we divided it up by putting two cups into freezer bags. This is something she can easily digest with her gastroparesis.

Tomorrow we will be making lamb glop, which will be rice, ground lamb, and gravy and we will divide it up, too. I know the name isn't attractive but it tastes good and I don't have the energy to write a big, long name on a Ziploc.

Then for DS and I we will be making up steaks and chicken thighs and cutting them into strips, measuring them out and dividing the into baggies for the freezer. He will get 9 oz and I will get 6 oz. Then we can easily pull out what we need the night before and make salads the next day or just warm up some veggies.

I will also be cutting up and putting 24 sausages into the Instant Pot, cooking them quickly, and measuring them out into containers and making some bell peppers and onions on the side. I have bags of cut up bell peppers and onions in the freezer still. I think I will also make some zucchini patties from the frozen shredded zucchini and then refreeze.

I just want to make our lunches simple and easy and not something we have to think about during the week.

Oh, and DD and I will also be making sushi rolls (with cooked meat) and freezing them. They will just be seaweed, rice, and either shrimp, salmon, or crab. Seaweed is one of the few vegetables she can still eat without getting ill. Then she can take one out as she needs it and cut it up. She needs to have simple foods that are easy to digest. I just need to pick up a new bamboo mat for rolling. I think they have them at Winco, but if not I'll go to the Asian grocery store. I just don't like to go there unless I have to because the aisles are not exactly ADA compliant.

Hopefully with the kids helping me, we can get the meal prepping done without it hurting my back too much, we can be eating better, and I can spend more time outdoors.

Payday Report for 5/3/19

May 4th, 2019 at 03:02 pm

$327.36 Tithe
_400.00 Utilities
_400.00 Grocery Envelope
_500.00 Medical Fund
__75.00 Household Envelope
_280.00 Monthly Family Chiropractic Plan
_108.91 Internet
__36.00 Garbage Fund
_100.00 Car Insurance Fund
__50.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
_100.00 Gas Money
_100.00 Blow Money Adults
_120.00 Allowances Kids
_200.00 Clothing Envelope
__81.00 Truck License Tabs
_395.00 Credit Card
3273.27 Total Money Out

Massive Grocery Shop Plus Some Food Rambling

May 4th, 2019 at 02:56 pm

I went and did the two week grocery shop, but I also stocked up on a lot of chicken. I went to four stores in one day and boy is my body telling me I overdid it today. Although it might also have to do with some weeding last night.

Safeway has boneless skinless thighs (and breasts) on sale for $2.99 a pound in my area. I was going to get some bone in skin on chicken elsewhere for 88 cents a pound, but they were all out of it and didn't have more in the back, which was annoying.

It is cheaper to do it myself, but my hands are bugging me and I didn't want to deal with pulling skins off and working the bone out while keeping the most meat possible intact. Since $2.99 is my buy price for boneless/skinless chicken thighs, I bought 8 of them. They were around 4 pounds each. So today we will haul out the Food Saver and divide them up into 8 piece packages and take most of them out to the deep freezer in the garage.

My first stop was Trader Joe's and I spent $96.51. I bought:

2 boxes maple pecan granola cereal
1 chive and onion cream cheese
4 frozen chicken fettuccine Alfredo
4 frozen mac and cheese dinners
2 bags flour tortillas
1 box fish nuggets
3 bags garlic naan bread
1 box peanut butter granola bars
1 bag (of six) large hamburger buns (no soy!)
2 packs Co-Jack cheese sticks
1 4 lb bag organic gold potatoes
1 5 lb bag organic russet potatoes
4 boxes chocolate truffle bars (no soy!)
1 organic Caesar salad kit (they were out of plain romaine)
1 bag organic baby spinach

Our next stop was Fred Meyer were I spent $50.47. I bought:

2 Simply Strawberry lemonades (digital coupon)
2 Simply lemonades (digital coupon)
4 boxes organic fettuccine noodles (cheaper than normal ones on sale)
2 bags English muffins
2 bunches organic green onions
2 organic red onions
6 organic yellow onions
1 bunch organic bananas
4 containers Pringles (on sale 2 for $3)
4 organic lemons
2 organic limes
1 large container cubed watermelon

Then we hustled across the street to Whole Foods where I bought only 4 items, but the meat was expensive. I spent $41.37 and I bought:

1/2 pound of uncured pepperoni
1 pound of uncured sopresatta
1 box organic strawberries
4 strawberry mochi

After that we went to Safeway and spent $145.16 and bought:

4 boxes of organic spaghetti noodles
1 box of organic lasagna noodles
1 big bag of ice
1 1/2 gallon of milk
1 package organic white cheddar cheese slices
1 box of Vital Farms pastured eggs
1 10 count box of cupcakes
8 packages of boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 pounds of wild cod (on sale for $5/lb)
1 pound of Dietz and Watson deli roast beef
1 pound of Dietz and Waston deli homestyle roasted turkey

The total on groceries spent is $333.51. That leaves me with $66.49 in the grocery budget for next week if I need to pick up milk, tortillas, or more deli meat.

I should not have to buy any more noodles for a couple of months as the noodle cupboard is fully stocked. I also don't need to buy any spaghetti sauce for a few months as I finished stocking that up the previous pay period. We eat pasta once a week, because it is fast and easy in the Instant Pot. I have learned how to do penné, bow ties, rotini, spaghetti, and fettuccine all in the Instant Pot and have been pretty pleased with the results.

I like having a three month supply of everything in the house in case of emergency situations. Then of course my extended pantry for six months of food which got us through those 10 months of unemployment a while back. My ultimate goal is a year's supply, but that takes a lot of time to build.

I need to make up a big batch of meatballs again for the freezer and then it will be even easier to just pour and dump the whole thing. I have to get DS to shred the parmesan and romano for me, though. That is the hardest part for my hands. We like it at powder consistency, otherwise I'd use the food processor or salad shooter, but the little cheese mill is all we have for it.

I am thinking about getting an electric cheese mill, but it is around $100. We do eat a lot of powdered cheese, though, and the only way to get it without the anti-caking agents is to do it ourselves. So it might be worth it. I haven't spent the majority of my allowance in ages so there is quite a bit built up in the allowance envelope. Also we have $100 from MIL that we could use to buy it from our anniversary in March. We hadn't figured out what we wanted, though I was thinking about an electric flatbread press for making tortillas and pita bread easier. I need to watch more videos of people using them and see if they are really worth the price. Does anyone here use one?

Emergency Fund Update

May 4th, 2019 at 02:05 pm

I have decided to start saving whatever is left in the grocery envelope at the end of the two week period and depositing that into the Emergency Fund as I am a little concerned about what happens if we do have to pay that medical bill that I think crossed in the time period between out of pocket max being paid and submission. It's not much, but it it is a little bit and makes me feel like I am being proactive. I will also be dumping all of my change at the end of two weeks and rolling it for deposit. I try to use the change as I go, but I don't always if there is a long line behind me.

$3524.83 Balance Forward
+__16.50 Deposit Added
$3541.33 New Balance

Emergency Fund Update/Adding Interest

May 1st, 2019 at 03:26 pm

$3520.83 Balance Forward
+___2.70 C1-360 Interest
+___1.30 CU #1 Interest
$3524.83 New Balance

This, That, and the Other Thing

May 1st, 2019 at 03:19 pm

I spent some time working out the May budget today. May is a three paycheck month for us, so I had to sort out how much extra there is going to be and where it goes. We have licensing tabs coming due on both vehicles one on May 25th and one on June 4th, so both of those have to come out of the May budget.

I hate that both vehicles come due at the same time. If we had bought the truck instead of inheriting it, I'd have made sure we purchased it at least two months off. I know I could plan for this better, but I always forget to, knowing we can absorb the costs. It just means that there won't be any money to the Holiday Fund or the Laptop Fund this month. That $200 is going for tabs, plus a few dollars more.

Most of that extra is going to pay a credit card bill so we don't have any interest. We had to make a lot of purchases in April and also made some purchases we didn't have to make (getting takeout a lot due to exhaustion on my part) and had some unexpected medical bills come in that I charged.

We shouldn't be getting anymore for our daughter so I think something may have crossed in the mail with when she hit her out of pocket max and when it was actually credited. We've had this happen before. We are trying to track that down and see if this most recent bill can be resubmitted to insurance. If not, that'll be about $1100 out of the emergency fund.

If I have to take it out of the EF then I will cut back on debt repayment to get that money replaced, but I will still pay at least $1000 a month on debt repayment while we do that. It should only take a month to replenish the EF that way.

I will still be able to pay off $1200 in loan debt to Mom this month.

Like Amber, I am going to try for a no eating out month. I've got my meal plan set for the week and I made it with some easier meals for the weekend when we do the most garden and yard work and I tend to get wiped out. Besides, I lose weight better when we are not eating take out.

Speaking of weight loss, I was able to get into 2 pairs of Capri pants that are a smaller size then what I am currently in. I can sit down in them, but it makes them a little tight around the belly, so I need to lose another inch or two off that to want to do more than walk around in them. I am hoping by the end of May when the really hot weather is here that they will fit comfortably.

I have several other pairs of Capris, shorts, and jeans that are the same size as well and I am almost down a t-shirt size and when I am, I will be able to wear several of the shirts hanging in my closet. If this keeps up I will have a fairly nice summer wardrobe available to me at no expense.

I need to go find my sewing machine in storage. I've got some mending to do on some seams and it is too much to hand sew. The one seam unraveled in a foot of fabric and I have a sundress with a slit that goes to mid-thigh that I'd like to sew up. With the wind we have, it can get embarrassing to wear that dress outside. It has a loose enough skirt that goes down to near my ankles, so sewing it up won't impede my walking at all.

My limit these days is sewing on new buttons, replacing bra hooks or eyes, and repairing one to two inch rips in clothes. My hands don't really handle more with the RA. It is worst in my hands for fiddly work, although they are somewhat better with the Enbrel.

Started Planting the Garden

April 29th, 2019 at 09:31 pm

This morning I was down to 18 pounds lost. Woohoo. It's all the gardening and little sugar, I'm sure. On Saturday I worked 5 hours in the garden and on Sunday I worked 4 hours. Today I worked about an hour.

I planted cilantro, English thyme, dill, chives, and tricolor sage in bed one. I planted a San Marzano roma tomato plant, patty pan squash, and gold rush zucchini in bed 2. In bed 3 I planted a Lemon Boy yellow tomato plant and pickling cucumbers. There should be enough room for basil plants once they are available.

In bed seven I planted 6 celery plants, 6 Romanescu broccoli, and 12 green kolhrabi plants. That is half the bed. I meant to get more broccoli, but I totally forgot when I discovered they had cucumbers and summer squashes. I'll pick up broccoli and cauliflower on Friday. Maybe a nasturtium plant, too, but that will go in a hanging basket as it can easily take over an entire raised bed.

I plan on making salsa and pickles this year and canning them. Of course I will also be canning potatoes and green beans. Maybe carrots. I don't have to can pears this year as we still have a ton. There are five Italian plum trees coming up in the backyard. We already have one that is four years old. I don't know if we will keep all of them, but one of them is really well formed so I think we might keep it.

If we get grapes this year we will make grape jelly. We'll have to do something to protect them from squirrels and rats, though. The one year we had grapes they stripped the vines before the grapes were ripe. It was devastating since it has been loaded. We don't have rats anymore but we do have lots of squirrels.

We have a mated pair of cottontail rabbits that have been hanging out in our yard and our next door neighbor's yard. They are very friendly and you can walk up to about a foot from them before they decide to move and even then they just go a couple of feet and then look to see if you are following them.

Yesterday we got the duck coop halfway down. Hopefully we can get the rest of it down before the weekend, but DH worked late tonight so I don't know. I want to get the turkey pen down, too, so we can plant potatoes there.

Fred Meyer has chicken on sale for 88 cents a pound, so I think I will be shopping there come Friday. The best price I have been able to get otherwise is 99 cents a pound. I will get a bunch of thighs to skin and debone so I can have boneless/skinless at a much cheaper price than I could find otherwise.

I then take the bones with that little bit of meat left on them and make chicken meat stock. Although I did see another idea on what to do with the bones, since there is meat on them. You cook them like wings and put barbecue sauce on and then it is a cheap wing substitute since wings are so expensive now. I could do half and half, and just leave a little more meat on the bones. And then with the skins, you can season them and fry them up like bacon. It's really good. Or if you have a dog, you can dehydrate the skins for treats. It's a great way to save some money and not have any wasted food.