22 days ago on the 18th, DH and I got married in a little church that is no longer there, because they sold it, became a mega warehouse church, and completely changed into something they were not before. But I digress.
The plan for our anniversary was to go see Beauty and the Beast. It was our movie when it came out in the 90's when we were engaged and going to college. He was working at the movie theater and he had several free passes a month. Sometimes it was the only time we got to spend together, since I went to class in the mornings, then worked Noon to 8 in the restaurant.
After I got off work I'd drive to the theater and hang out with him in the projection room and we watched Beauty and the Beast many times. So we were going to see the movie, but I woke up with those extreme muscle cramps you get in your calf muscles and I figured sitting still for 2 hours without being able to stretch them would be a nightmare. And DH was tired anyway. We may go for today or we may wait for the following weekend.
So instead we celebrated by building me a new corner desk out of pallet wood and presswood cubes that I have had since I was a kid. We had to sand them down to get all the scribble marks and stickers that my kids put on them over the years off. We did not paint it as it is too cold yet to be painting outside, but we will eventually paint the whole thing white.
Here's the set up:
It's on the short side of the L. It holds my cooking magazines that I sill need to transcribe recipes out of and some homeschool consumable activity books. Then my box of tools that others are not allowed to use because they never bring them back. Then my sewing box.
The next cube holds all the OTC cold and allergy medicines for me and the kids. Then a shelf of the granny squares I've completed so far. Finally the last shelf holds our firesafe lockbox. We don't actually lock it though because the idea behind it is that it is just there for if there is a fire. I can get all the documents again, but it would be very time-consuming. Then up on top I've got my basked full of tape, sticky notes, and staples, emergency goat milk replacer, and the coin jar.
This is the long area of the L where I will do my computer work and writing I won't have much else on this section. Maybe an inbox. I will put up a painting on the wall overhead, though.
This is the set up at the other end of the long part of the desk.
The area beneath the long side at the far end of the desk is set up for homeschool paperwork, tests, and quizzes.
The area beneath the short side holds my yarn for crochet and loom knitting and the file boxes that contain our medical information for the past five years that we need to retain for tax purposes.
All in all I'm very pleased.
Viewing the 'Something for Nothing' Category
22 days ago on the 18th, DH and I got married in a little church that is no longer there, because they sold it, became a mega warehouse church, and completely changed into something they were not before. But I digress.
My new project is teaching myself to crochet. I can do the chain stitch (which is easy and I've known how to do since I was a kid) and the crochet stitch so far. It took me a good five hours to get the crochet stitch down. I kept crocheting and unraveling and starting over again. I think I've got it fairly well, so now I have to learn a new stitch.
I got bored with loom knitting and someone in my family kept posting cool crochet projects, so I thought it was time to try again. It's a great thing to do while I'm listening to my internet Bible study. Job is a little hard to get through (although it feels very relevant), so it helps to have something to occupy my hands while I listen. But I digress. I want to eventually make some blankets and then move on to cute toys.
My husband's project is that he is finally building the canning shelves out of all those high quality pallets we scored earlier this fall. He put the prototype shelf together today and tomorrow he (with some help from me) will put together the first unit. The bookcases we are using now are only 3 jars deep and 7 jars wide, so 21 quart jars per shelf.
The new cases will be 5 jars deep and 6 jars wide, so 30 pint jars per shelf. There are five shelves on the old cases, and this will have quite a few more shelves, so I ought to be able to fit a lot more jars on them.
It will also have the shelves spaced so they are the height of the jars, plus one inch. No wasted space. When our living space is so limited as it is, this will make a big difference. And they will have a lip on each shelf to keep the jars in place if there is an earthquake. I am excited to see this finally come to fruition.
Most of the wood in it will be free. We have to buy four 2 x 4's per unit (people don't give away good 2 x 4's) and DH bought a two pound box of screws for $20. We bought the first four 2 x 4's, so that was $10. We are hoping to only put about $15 worth into each set of cases. Since we have a steady supply of pallets, this might be something DH can put together for other people as well and sell them. It would be a nice side income stream if it panned out. We'll have to see how long it takes to put one together and also how long it takes to disassemble all the pallets before deciding on a price.
He can also build spice shelves and regular bookcases, too. You can't find solid wood bookcases for less than $150. Just plywood and press wood with veneers on them. So if we priced them right, they'd probably sell decently. We'll have to see, though. Right now, I want my cases and my spice rack that can hold my gazillion jars of spices.
I took 3 surveys from Pinecone this morning. I am not sure if they just really like me right now or if it is a holiday thing where they are trying to get stuff done before Thanksgiving when people will be too busy to take surveys.
I haven't cashed in at all since I started doing Pinecone. I just figured I'd have them send me a check when it got big enough to be worth bothering with. After I get the notification that these 3 are in my account I will cash out. Not sure how much I have, but I've been doing surveys at least once a week for the last several months. I just don't feel like looking it up. I'll find that out when I go to cash out.
I am making rabbit stock today from all 8 of the ribcages from the rabbits we butchered last week. I should end up with about 3 cups of rabbit meat to use in meals this week (probably enchiladas) once I pick off the bones and 6 to 8 quarts of stock to can. The chickens and ducks will get the used up vegetables.
I may make up soup base instead of just stock. To do that I half fill the jars with diced carrots, celery, potatoes, and rabbit meat and fill the rest of with the stock. Then when I want soup I just bring it to a boil and add noodles to cook. I'm not sure if I have enough extra energy to do that, though. I am feeling better, but am still sick, though it is becoming more of a functional sick.
I need to remember to take the turkey out of the freezer tomorrow for Thanksgiving. And to weigh it so we know how heavy it is for cooking time. We didn't weigh it when we butchered it and DH forgot to weigh it when he bagged it up for the freezer. I think it is about ten pounds, but we need to know for sure.
I also need to bake a couple of loaves of bread for making stuffing on Tuesday. I need to pick through the potatoes and make sure there are enough that haven't sprouted for that day, too. I need to make sure I have the right poultry seasoning on hand, one that actually has sage in it. We have plenty of butter on hand.
I need to find what I did with my recipe for making chocolate pudding so I can make a chocolate cream pie. I need to buy heavy cream to make whipping cream. I already have the safe brand of graham crackers for making the crust. I will probably make the pie on Wednesday and do the cream last minute on Thursday.
Our menu is pretty simple for the day. Roast turkey rubbed with butter and poultry seasoning, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, simple bread stuffing, and pie. Since it is just me, the kids, and my mother, that is all we want. We don't like cranberry sauce or yams. My son is the only one who likes pumpkin pie, but he is fine to wait until Christmas for that.
This will be the first time in 4 years (I think) that DH has not been home for Thanksgiving. I know for the past 3 years we have gone to his parents house. I didn't want to go this year without him. Anyway, I always end up doing most of the cooking when I go, so this year I am staying home and my mom will help with the cooking. Since I still don't feel great, I don't want to put myself through the drama that my SIL and her eldest daughter always bring to gatherings on that side of the family. When DH is not with me, I just don't have the patience for that. He keeps me centered.
We have decided to finally start contributing to the 401K at the new company. We weren't when we were paying off the credit cards or paying off the mortgage, but we have decided that it was time now to start. DH is going to find out when enrollment is and then as soon as we can, we will start with it. His company does no matching at all. We are going to start with 1% and see how it affects our bottom line. If it is bearable, we will up it to 2%. We will have to see how much our medical is going to go up this year. 1% may be all we can afford.
If he ends up getting enough overtime that we don't have to use the Christmas bonus to get through the time off, and assuming it is the same amount as last year, I'd like to put half of it into the 401K. That we can do regardless of an enrollment period. The rest of it would be split between starting DH on his Bachelor's program and the Emergency Fund. But who knows on the overtime. DH is still trying to chase down the final signature. His company can be very disorganized at times.
I got some swag from my credit union. A wall calendar, a purse calendar, and a very, very nice pen. I do like free stuff that I can actually use.
Every once in a while a charity that I no longer contribute to sends me letters begging for a contribution. I have written to them to ask them to stop sending me these as we do not have the ability to contribute anymore and it is just a waste of their postage. But they continue to send requests and sometimes these things have gifts in them. Usually they are address labels, sometimes note cards, pens, and even Christmas cards. This time it had a dime and a penny taped into it. So my coin jar is up 11 cents.
I really don't understand these places. If they need money so badly why do they waste it sending out goodies and coins. Why don't they just use the money to support their needs? Oh, well, it obviously comes from a fund-raising budget. But I won't feel guilty about these gifts because I have asked them to stop and they've ignored it.
I haven't been very together this week. Queen's death, while expected, still threw me for a loop. I've got my equillibrium back today, so I thought I better get my head out of the clouds and pay some attention to the finances. Although they were basically on auto pilot this week anyway. Nothing much happens during the last week of the month. I took care of property tax ($424.58, half year) and the water bill ($144, two months) on Friday which were the only things due. I also had physical therapy on Friday ($90).
Yesterday I cashed out at Swagbucks for a $5 gift cared to Amazon. I haven't really been paying much attention to SB this month, so only got $10 in GC's. Today they seem to be giving double points for everything so I've got SBTV running in the backrgound. I have just been more busy this month than usual and not wanting to waste so much of my free time on it.
I got 11 cents and a sheet of address labels from some charity I have not donated to in over ten years. I have written them and asked them to stop sending me appeals so they don't waste their money on me, but they don't listen. I have no compunction against using what they send. I donated well to them for five years, but my charitable contributions are focused elsewhere now, locally. Anyway, that is my fifth or sixth dime this month.
I added $12.26 to the coin jar today. I had a lot of ones in my purse.
I stopped by the feed store and bought a 40 pound bag of rabbit pellets. It is $14.99 plus tax, so $16.29 altogether.
I paid the AMEX off ($271.92) for the month. I need to make a large payment to BoA VISA, but I need to balance the checkbook first. With the large amount of overtime money in the bank account, I haven't been balancing daily like normal, so I'm a week behind. I'm nowhere near overspending or anything, just need to know exactly where I am at so I can figure out how big the payment can be.
My electric bill has been moved from the 7nth to the 13th. They have changed how they bill, so last month's was a little higher to compensate for the extra week. Now it's back to normal and I do like that it is away from the first week of the month. I really don't like anything being due then, because that is when all the autopays come out and I don't want to think about having to write out a check. Their website sucks, they use impossible to decipher captchas, and the amount is variable from month to month so I don't autopay or pay that one online.
I have made it through my second day of no eating out and sticking to the meal plan. I've been wasting more money than I want to think about on takeaway and last minute grocery runs for deli food because I have been under the weather and haven't felt like cooking. I aim to get that back under control. I am sure I will stop feeling better eating homecooked food again, too.
I guess that about catches me up. At least I can't think of anything else for now.
When our ducks were little they went into the chicken coop right along with the chicks and hens, but as they got older they had difficulty climbing the ramp with their big webbed feet. Also, since the ducks didn't perch at night to sleep, once the chicks learned to perch the ducks ended up sleeping on the floor underneath them. Chickens poop a lot at night and this was not a happy or healthy situation for the poor ducks. They would either stay there or they would move into the nesting boxes, contamintating them.
Our first solution was to take an old desk and an old vanity cabinet from before the bathroom remodel, take off the doors, put hay in the bottom, herd the ducks into the desk half and then push the two together so that the openings were closed off.
Eventually they got too big for this and wanted more space so we expanded their den. We moved the desk to the right like so:
And the vanity went to the left like this:
We ran chicken wire along the back, stapling to one end of the desk and one end of the vanity.
We filled both the floors of the desk and the vanity with hay. Across the top of the vanity we placed one of the stripped down box springs salvaged from those awful ones that came with our mattress set and broke 3 days after the warranty was up.
At night we place the other box springs in front of the opening to the den.
We use bungy cords to hold the front box springs to the top box springs and the chicken wire to the top box springs. This seems to racoon proof it. I've seen racoon scat around it over the past two weeks but they haven't been able to get in and dine on our ducks.
We place sod and hay in the center section that is open the ground. The ducks love it and they love their new den, too.
In the winter we will use the thick cloth coverings that used to be on the box springs for extra warmth over the chicken wire. We will staple it into place and then remove it in the spring.
On the back side of the desk we cut a little hole and placed an old wire shelf over it. It is easily removable by us, but not the racoons, and we can reach in and get the eggs they lay before we let them out in the morning.
The whole contraption works perfectly for us, and we didn't have to pay out for new materials. We simply recycled what we had on hand, keeping it out of the landfill, and giving it a new purpose. It's not pretty, but it's more than functional and our ducks are delighted to have the extra space and an area open to the ground.
Well, I cancelled my dentist appointment for tomorrow. My ear still hurts too much and my throat as well, to sit through a cleaning and after having been on antibiotics for over a week with no progress, I'm sure this is a nasty virus. I didn't want to get them sick there, so I've saved or at least put off, the cost of a cleaning this month. I go three times a year due to some damage caused earlier in life and the third appointment is not covered. I've rescheduled to mid-October, which shifts the payment to a better month and hopefully that gives me enough time to get over this forsaken thing.
Oh, it is better than yesterday, though so hopefully that means I'm on the upswing. Yesterday was "oh my gosh, I think I'm going to die from this ear pain, will it never end," and today was "I think I'll live but I'm not going to enjoy it." LOL So a tiny bit of progress. At least I have my sense of humor back, right?
I have missed three weeks of seeing the woman who works on my leg due to her car accident, so that $90 a week has eased things a bit. She called me today and we've tentatively scheduled for Monday, but with the understanding that either one of us was likely to cancel depending on health or injury status. It was good to hear from her. She's become a dear friend over the last couple of years and we chat non-stop when we have a session.
Homeschool has gone much, much better this week. We are getting through things better. Math and literature take more than the allotted time, but the other subjects go faster so it all evens out. Today we only put in a half an hour more than the required time and I can see that things are beginning to go more smoothly on DS's end as he gets into the swing of it. I am pretty sure neither one of us is going to go crazy now.
The garden continues to chug along. Today I picked green beans, tomatoes, a kohlrabi, and some more prunes. The broccoli is getting bigger right on schedule and there are several tomatoes getting red and another kohlrabi that will be ready soon.
The pears on my table are now ripe so I will try to make and can the pear sauce tomorrow, though all I want to do is just bite into those lucsious things and eat them straight. Must resist. There will be more for that.
About half the tomatoes on the table are ripe, too. I hope the rest get there before I need to do something with the ones that already have because I don't want to make two small batches of sauce I want to make one big one.
I am making chicken stock overnight in the crockpot. I've got 4 chicken carcasses and a bunch of vegetable peelings that I've been saving in the freezer as well as a fresh leek and some sad looking but still decent parsley and other herbs from the garden. In the morning there will be beautiful, delicious broth for mere pennies. I may end up doing chicken noodle soup tomorrow instead of pizza because of my throat. I have some diced, cooked chicken in the freezer I can throw in to make it pretty easy as well as some fresh veggies I can chop and let simmer all day tomorrow. If I have enough leftover stock I will can it, otherwise I will freeze it.
And I think that about covers it.
Remember that itty bitty spider plant start my chiropractor gave me a few months ago?
Well, now it looks like this:
Not bad for free. Not bad at all. I am going to have to transplant it into a bigger pot soon. I am trying to find a ceramic one amongst all of my mother's old pots. I don't like cheap plastic in the house or terra cotta inside, either. If she doesn't have one I will look at Goodwill. I don't want to buy a new one if I don't have to. I think my free plant should have a free or second hand pot to grow up in.
Here is today's harvest basket:
There are about 30 Italian prunes, enough green beans for a meal, 2 tomatoes that were on dead vines so I went ahead and picked them to finish ripening inside, the last bell pepper because it looked like something was trying to eat it, and a kohlrabi. Still no sign of broccoli on the big, lush broccoli plants. I'm still hoping.
It was cold this morning, 45 degrees, but we had a high of 82 at 4 p.m. There are more tomatoes ripening. I am hopeful tonight won't fall below 50 as it is 8:30 and only at 60. If it gets too far below 50 too many nights the tomatoes will be done. The squashes are doing well, the zucchini is slowly producing and I've still only gotten one cucumber from four plants.
We figured out where the ducks were getting out and patched the hole in the fence. Thankfully it is not them flying out or the gate, though the gate still needs to be replaced with something more substantial. We got 11 chicken eggs and 2 duck eggs today. They are really trucking along well.
DD has a severe enough sinus infection that the doctor put her on antibiotics for three weeks. Now if I can just get her P.E. teacher to quite defying me on the orders to keep her inside and not make her go outside during 1st period this week when it's 45. They are supposed to be doing basketball and volleyball only, inside the gym only, but this guy got it in his head to go off syllabus and make them play softball. She has too many health problems for outdoor P.E. I am so tired of school employees not listening to us. It was bad enough when their errors caused my son to be badly injured last June, but if they give my daughter pneumonia on top of it I am done with them and she can homeschool, too.
Oh, and Snafu asked for an update the other day on DS. Although he has healed from the majority of the symptoms from his brain injury, he still has balance problems and some minor focus problems. He cannot yet balance on a bicycle. And he's still jumpy as heck if someone comes up behind him unexpectedly like the boy who attacked him did. But homeschool is going on pretty well now that WAVA finally got its act together and we could actually start it. He's really enjoying it so far.