Midweek stuff and a blood moon!

We went to Costco for our February shop. It was weirdly quiet in there. We were able to move about without threat of bodily harm. Nice!!

I spent $300 on food stuff which did include stocking up stuff like canned black beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, coffee, butter, bread, cheese, some frozen salmon, and cereal and more. Then we spent $150 on non-food such as beer, underwear, face cream, dishwasher stuff and more.

So, I’ll put the $300 towards my $500 food budget and $150 toward non-food. I haven’t put a number on this yet since I will need cat food and a few misc.

Our weather is getting beautiful and the next 2 weeks our highs will be @ 70. Yes!!

We were up early enough to catch the lunar eclipse and it was earrily red. Then we watched it come out of the eclipse as we walked. Very cool.  Stuff like this makes me realize that even a hundred years ago these things were like strange.  Can you imagine a thousand years ago seeing this . Okay , here’s the snarky me coming out. Gee, imagine 2,000 years ago and the phenomena of water into wine?? walking on water???? rising from the dead??? Gee, how to explain it??? Jesus who???  Okay enough.

I refused to listen to the misogynist in the White house last night. It’s all BS anyway. But I CANNOT stand his voice. I’m not sure what’s up with that but I have a theroy that he’s really an alien ( look at those hooded eyes) and that he’s programmed milllions by his voice except atheists like me.

wow, this has gone from Costco to atheism, I ‘d better quit now.

Just a reminder, this my blog, if you don’t like it, don’t read it!!!

Looking ahead with the budget

So, I tallied the rest of the month with food, nonfood, cat food, and we’re at $700. The food bill was @ $500, so the $200 is non-food, cat food(which is pretty high since our one kitty is not doing well and we buy a lot of cat food for him to eat. Ollie has a thyroid cancerous tumor and isn’t long for the earth. He’s a super sweet Maine coon and at one time weighed in at 20lbs.image

So back to the budget.  I added B’s two take home checks and it covers our bills but not a lot extra. It’s going to have to be my SS checks that give us the annual bills. And I’d like to start making  extra payments on the Santa Fe. If we can pay that off it’ll free up $600 . Yes, that’s a high payment but he gets a reimbursement of almost $400 a month so it works out. Looking ahead though, we cannot have a car payment in retirement.  I’m kinda freaking out a bit concerning the actual numbers. We don’t have a large 401 or anything so… But I’m hopeful that I can knock this out by the end of the year. Next would be our second. That was part of the worst re-finance in the world during the time when they were giving out re fi’s with no income verification and over inflating home values. Yes, we were incredibly stupid to do it. But this is finally, almost under $20,000 so that’ll be the next thing to get rid of.

It is , of course, ambitious, but I feel compelled to work this out.

We will see……

Dinner is chicken tacos in the crock pot with rice.

Beginning of the week.

I missed Simple Sunday but it was simple. I went to the gym and then picked a few groceries at Safeway which is in the same complex as the gym.

I came home and watered my plants and moved a spider plant to a ( I hope)better location.  a few of my plant friends

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For dinner I had roasted some of the beets I bought at the FArmers Mrkt, so we had roasted beets on lettuce with a lovely Humbolt Fog chevre. I made an orange vinaigrette for the dressing. Then I had made some lovely garbanzo sunflower seed burgers. To make this very easy burger:

  • take a can of garbanzo beans and rinse and drain
  • mince up onion ( maybe a tablespoon or so)
  • sunflower seeds
  •  Put in a food processor and whiz
  • then add an egg and whiz again
  • salt  and pepper
  • take out and put in a bowl and then add bread crumbs so it’s a nice consistency to form burgers
  • fry in a pan with 1-2  tablespoon vegetable oil

The second night I made a tamari gravy to put over it. Quite yummy!!!

Today the zone is the living room. LAter this week the zone switches to the entryway and porches. That’s because Feb 1 is Thursday, so the zones work from the first of the month. Both zones are fairly easy for me as there’s not much in the way of clutter and the things are minimal. I am going to pull the couch covers off as I do every 3 months or so.

I need to go out to Grocery Outlet and get some milk and a few other things.

Dinner is some Dover sole and salad.

Frugal Friday

I made my food only budget $500 this month. There are 5 days left and I still need a few things. I’m at @ $475. So I may come in a little over. But this doesn’t include cat food for our 2 cats, one of which is in decline and probably has either a thyroid or diabetic issue as it’s eating lots of food. But this cat, Ollie, is my daughter’s love, so we buy food. I’m at @ 100 for the month. We alternate who buys so my part is probably @ $45.  Then there’s wine/beer( for hubs, I don’t drink beer) is at @ $60.

So overall, I’m pretty happy with the numbers but I think I can get just food down to $400. I’ll track in February again.

Our electric bill came in great at $237. That’s half what it was last year at this time.  So I’m thrilled.

I just canceled the phone insurance on my sons’ phone so that will drop the bill by another $13. Then next month I’m planning to pay off his phone so that will drop the Verizon bill even more. By about $30 more dollars. I know he should be paying it off but right now he’s starting CSU Sacramento and taking a full load 18 units and his gas /food bill is going way up. We’re probably way too giving to him as we paid his parking pass and will pay this semester’s tuition.  I know, I know, he should be figuring it out himself but we feel responsible.  We’re making a monthly payment so I’m hoping B’s next bonus gives us boost.

My gas in the VW runs $25 every 3 weeks , so pretty good.

With my SS checks coming in we’re able to save for our annual bills and I think that will make a big difference.

I’m still using YNAB. I like it for the most part and I think when we get annual bill categories funded it’ll be even better.

That’s about it for this week.

Homemade pizza tonight.

 

sourdough bread

I’ve got a terrific starter going that I made in the fall. It has been really useful and flavorful.

I’ve made pancakes and two days ago started on bread. I make the bread using the ‘Tartine’   bread book.

It’s really an easy recipe ONCE you get past the scientific stuff. But it does take making the leaven,then the autolyse, then the first rise, and then the final rise in the refrigerator.  Then you can bake the next day. I use Banneton  bread proofing basket.

It gives a nice pattern to the bread and holds it in shape too.

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The flour lines are from the proofing basket..

I’ve been making bread for over 40 years off and on. I started with the Tassajara bread book and Laurels kitchen.  Most of my loaves back then were heavy and more like bricks. But we ate them anyway(most of the time).

Breadmaking is an art form, for sure. But the real trick is to just keep trying and making lots of bread because you do start to get a feel for the bread. I make a number of different breads. This is the sourdough but I also make a sandwich bread in a loaf pan. I start that using the Kitchen Aid and then let rise in the bowl. Then bake in a Williams Sonoma professional loaf pan.

One thing I’ve learned is to get the best equipment you can afford and get the right tool for what you’re making. It really does make a world of difference.

Sunday doings

It was very cold last night and there was a hard frost. We don’t really have anything planted so that’s good but some herbs did get frosted.

It looks like the whole week ahead is cold and rainy with lots of snow in the Sierras. Well, we do need it.

Today is a gym day and then just puttering around. I’ve read a couple of good books in the last week and I just got a couple of more ebooks to check out.

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I got these cute hyacinth bulbs at Trader Joes. I love the little glass vases they came in and I can use again.

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Here are a few of my plant friends in the corner. This is where I sit and drink my coffee before I head out to walk. This is to the right of our front door.

Over at the blog ‘Reading my tea leaves’( just about my favorite blog), Erin wrote a really good blog on working with the space you have. She lives in a tiny apartment in NYC and was discussing what you can do or can’t do since it’s a rental. I chimed in that that’s true even when you own. I live in a tiny house( the county lists our house at 679 sq feet) but since we have closed in 2 porches and built a sunroom it is more like 900 sq feet.  I actually have never measured. Maybe I’ll do that. We’re in Northern California and have lived in this house with my husband and 2 children for 22 1/2 years now. My son was 1 when we moved into this house.  Structurally, we’ve never had money to build or do any major renovation. We’ve just done what we could.

The more minimalist we’ve become the bigger our gets simply by removing things that just didn’t fit. ( At one time we had 2 couches and a futon and a piano in our front room along with a large oak table.)  I think we were kinda nuts.  So, I really liked her take on making the best with what you’ve got and making each space special.

A lovely day

I had a good gym workout and then headed into Safeway for a few things. Well, $90 later, I did get extra stuff. The usual, cat food, milk, some sliced turkey and on and on. It’s okay, I needed a few expensive things like mouthwash, and Polident for my Invisalign. Okay, I confess, I bought a little plant and some votive candles too.

The rain is coming in and it should be heavy at times. But we do need it. There’s also snow for the Sierras.

Tonight I’m making some sourdough pancakes and scrambled eggs. Usually, it’s Crockpot Thursday, but I’m just going wild here with pancakes.