Friday things

Frugal things included shopping at Grocery Outlet for a few items we needed and to take advantage of their semi-annual wine sale. 20% off everything is a good deal. I bought 6 different bottles to try. None of the wineries are familiar to me but that doesn’t matter. Then we also stopped at Safeway to check on turkey breasts but they didn’t have any( nor Target or Walmart)?? So I added in a 10lb turkey (their brand) and when I was checking out it rang up as $7.00 so that was a good deal. I’m not sure I’ll use it for Thanksgiving but it’ll be in the freezer.

The black beans looked like they came out good in the pressure canner. I soaked 3 lbs overnight and then cooked for 30 minutes. I ended up with 5 Qts and 1 pint. So that’s quite a bit. I’ll use the pint jar next week and test it out.

I had my annual mammogram this morning and was in and out in 20 minutes. Then I headed down to Roseville to the Rec center. It was too early for the library so I’ll go next week. After that, I just came straight home and had a poached egg and toast instead of stopping at Panera.

I’m cooking up a banana bread right now as I type this blog because it wasn’t quite done. The bananas were in the freezer and I’m really trying to use things that need using up.

Tonight is pizza night and I have that all prepped. My son leaves for Las Vegas tomorrow with his friend. Their seeing Elton John. I think this is his 20th time seeing him. One time in LV at an Elton show, Elton’s rep came up to Zephyr and his friend and gave them VIP tickets to move up to the front row. That was a thrill for him.

We’re in for lots of rain next week so it’ll be an inside week for sure. There’s supposed to be snow in the mountains. Hurray!

Thankful Thursday

I’m thankful we have a warm and cozy home. Plus I’m thankful that B feels good enough to get us wood for the wood stove.

Here are some highlights of the week.

Halloween pumpkin carved by my son and his friend.

I have no interest in carving pumpkins anymore so I’m thankful he did. Here’s my pumpkin stack though:

That’s about it for outside Halloween but I always put out my vintage Halloween things. Now they are all put away except for knitted pumpkins for Thanksgiving.

Above you can see the color of the paint B re did. I still kind of hate it but at least it’s not glaring light grey. Next year, we’ll re do it with a different color and maybe 3 times is a charm??

Cozy sitting. Looking at the TV wall and a cat. Those are their cat beds which I’d love if they weren’t there but needs must.

Looking over at the table and you can see a few knitted pumpkins.

This is the beef stew. It looked pretty good. Today has been busy with pressure canning black beans. I wanted to try one more different thing before I put the canner away. It’s de-pressurizing right now so I’ll open it up later today. I still might do some cranberry sauce though as I saw a recipe on Mavis Butterfield’s blog.

I also made the pizza dough for tomorrow night and used a Youtubers recipe that makes 4 doughs. I did this last month and like being able to pull it out of the freezer. The YouTuber is Happy Homestead and she’s about as down to earth as you can get and has really good ideas.

I’m thankful I love to cook for my family and I’m thankful for my family.

Simple Sunday

Our fall weather continues to be beautiful but changes are coming this week with rain Tuesday and Wednesday. Hurray for some rain! I guess we’re ready. We still need more firewood but have enough for the immediate future.

Yesterday, I made the pressure-canned enchilada sauce.

I ended up with 6 pints so I’m happy about that. I kept one out to use this week in a recipe and test it out. Last night we had one of the white bean ragouts I canned it was delicious. Overall, I am very pleased with trying pressure canning. This morning I prepped some onions, celery, and B peeled carrots and potatoes for a beef stew. I had two packages from Costco in the freezer that needed to get used up. So I got everything into my new All Clad stock pot and heated up. I had to wait to actually can it because I wanted to check out going to the gym on Sunday. So that’s what I’m doing now. The canning time is 90 minutes and you really don’t want to walk away from the canner( at least too far).

There wasn’t a lot of traffic on I 80 and the gym was basically deserted until 10:00am when I was leaving. So I might consider this more often. I’m all about going to the gym( or anywhere) when there are no people around. Introvert here! 🙂

We’re planning a Costco trip this week to get a bunch of things but mostly coffee. I think it’ll end up on the more expensive side as we need batteries, coffee, organic chicken, dairy, etc. Just the basics but everything is so expensive now. 😦 Increasing our food budget to $800 though has made a difference and I had both kids add some extra on their ‘rent’ to cover food costs( and everything else).

This week I have my annual mammogram and that’s it. Just my regular routines.

This week Flylady is in the Living room and then the entryways since it’s the beginning of the month. I need to tidy the patio anyway because there’s left over garden stuff all around. It’s time to get it all put away. I have some garlic to plant too. I read up on it and so you use your biggest bulbs that you had harvested and that’s what you plant. The ones I picked are so nice I hate to use them but I want garlic next year.

On a political rant, I read in the WP that Musk was contributing to the right -wing conspiracists that Pelosi’s husbands attack was all staged. I mean how sick is that. They even went so far to say he was drunk and this was his male prostitute. Such evil thinking. And to think now Musk owns and controls Twitter is down right scary. I have never used Twitter although I think I set up an account years ago. I probably should see about completely deleting that. It really makes me wonder where it will go or end. Misinformation is rampant about everything. Voting fraud, this attack on Pelosi, everything seems so out of control. Well, I voted and I’m very glad I live in California even if I do live in a very red county.

Frugal Friday

The biggest Frugal Fail was going out for the worst breakfast ever!!! We decided to go to a new place near Trader Joe’s after we shopped called Early Toast. Wow, so awful I should have taken the $50 bill and burned it in the parking lot. Oh well, it does not reinforce my wanting to go out for meals. 😦

But TJ’s shop was good and I really was just going in for their snacks( the best potato chips ever) and curry sauce, misc items, and some wine.

We also picked up the Walmart order and the only thing I didn’t get was the turkey breast which was the only thing I really wanted in that order. 😦

Overall, a frugal week though with just the above-mentioned groceries and breakfast.

I had a good swim yesterday and the pool was really nice. The last 2 times it was quite cool which is unusual. But they must have gotten a few complaints and it was back to the way it usually is. Tomorrow I haven’t decided if I’ll swim or possibly go to the gym. I think I’ll wait and see how I feel later today.

Our weather is much cooler now but still no rain. It shows rain next week so fingers crossed. We really need the rain. We’ve been having a fire most mornings and evenings just to take the chill off the house.

I picked up 4 Ann Cleeves books from the library and started one. I have seen Vera on Brit Box so some of these books are adaptations of the series. The writing is good though. I stopped counting books I’ve read this year after 125 and that was in September. So probably I’m close to 150 books for the year. I just finished ‘A Tree grows in Brooklyn’ which was THE BOOK that influenced me the most growing up. If Francie could go to college, so could I. I was the first person in my family to ever go to college and later graduate school. Heidi, my sister, eventually earned her degree at the Catholic college she was working at. And all of her children are college educated with her oldest daughter holding a Ph.D. in nursing. ( I think it would be DNP??) not sure but she teaches.

Well, that’s all I got this morning so I’m off to do some chores and tidying up.

Getting ready for camping 2023

This would have been the week we were in Refugio. We canceled due to the cost of gas. ( gas is around $6.00 a gallon here but in the Santa Barbara area it’s probably higher. We both agreed that we didn’t want to add to the cc right now with the other things that are still on there. Plus, we felt we had done it last year and it was great but we didn’t really feel like we needed to go back there. Santa Barbara is always a draw for us but that’s still 30+ minutes away from Refugio so it’s not like we could just pop in. Anyway, we’re both ok with the decision.

My goal for 2023 is to go to one new place to camp and explore that area. I’d like it to be within 4-5 hours of driving.

So far for 2023, we have New Brighton booked in March and Wrights Beach in April. Both are 5 nights and that’s a nice amount of time. I think we’re going to book Napa at the end of each of these if we can get in. I’ll check that soon. My goal is to not drive more than 2-3 hours a day unless we are on an extended trip. I still have hopes that we can get to the Southwest, and then Pacific North West but with gas prices, we need to be budget-minded. I think I want to have a dedicated savings for travel and then that money will be in there for gas etc. We don’t spend a great deal generally once we’re in a location. So it’s really gas and the campground fees. We love the places we go to regularly so that’s all good. I mean Tahoe is my favorite place and where I want my ashes spread after I leave this earth.

Barclay is off to buy the concrete paint in a different color this morning down at Lowes. We decided to go with an earth tone in darker brown. Let’s hope we like it. Sort of an expensive mistake with the gallon being $50. Oh well… Then he’s going to pop into Winco for a few things. I think shopping at Winco has really helped my grocery budget. I can’t remember the last time I went into Safeway. Also, not running down to the Holiday Market for bits and bobs also is a money saver as it is definitely more expensive. I’m probably spending more at the farm but since it is produce just picked I’m ok with that. Last week I got potatoes, 2 cabbages, lettuce, spring mix, a leek and ?( I think it was some broccoli) it was $20. So pricey but ok.

I’m going to prep more apples this morning and get them ready for applesauce. I’m not sure I’ll cook them today but I’ll see how I feel when I’m done.

This time of year always is difficult for me remembering when I had the compression fracture in T 10 and didn’t know what it was or why. It was November 2003. Then later, in the fall of 2005, I was getting ready to do the SCT in February but was getting heavy duty chemo during this time. So difficult memories for me. Then Barclay’s MDS happened right about now too( early November). It’s an emotional time remembering these periods. Even when my last relapse was hitting numbers way too high, that was November of 2020 and I started chemo in January 2021. So lots of sad and difficult memories. Of course, I’m an optimist so right now things are stable. I’m doing well, Barclay is well and our kids are healthy and happy. So that’s all positive.

Simple Sunday

Fall is definitely here and with it colder weather and lots of pretty colored leaves. In the park, the trees are red, orange, yellow, and gold colors. Up here on our hill, we mostly have shades of yellow and gold. We had a lovely walk with no one there again. Sunday is my favorite day to walk. We’re consistent in walking 45 minutes. Then poof! I’m done. It’s the same with swimming. 40 minutes give or take and then that’s it.

I ordered 2 more cases of Ball jars and lids. They didn’t have the pint ones so I’ll check around for them. I also got a table runner in a tartan red plaid for Christmas and a candle(balsam). Speaking of Christmas, I’m pretty sure we’re not going to go up to Tahoe to cut a tree. The permits are in South Lake and that would mean going twice up there, once to buy the permit and then second, going to get the tree. There are no online purchases this year. Again, I don’t think we’ll do much in the way of gifts. Both my children buy whatever they need/want anyway. I’ll probably do a few gift cards though.

Here’s the applesauce from the other day.

I only got 4-pint jars but it is very tasty. I’ll see if my son can pick up a few more apples from his friend’s trees.

This week is another quiet one with no appts. I will go to the gym at least once and then swim at least twice. I’m doing a small Winco trip on one of the swim days as it is just across the street from the pool. We’ll probably do Costco in two weeks. As always, it’s the coffee we’ll need.

So we have a ‘new’ very friendly cat that has shown up!!!

Meet Chester!

He looks just like Gus! But his face is squarer ( is that a word?)more square. He’s very friendly and wants attention. We’re not sure where he came from but he seems to like it here.

This is Gus the tiger boy!!! He is bigger than the new cat that we’ve named Chester!!

I’m glad the week is over. I had those few days I didn’t feel well and it was just kind of an off week. Flylady zone is the living room. I did the windows and dusted. I put out a few Halloween decorations( my vintage ones) and added some mini pumpkins.

We finished watching “Severance”. If you like futuristic, dystopian stuff, then this is for you. Very intense and you’re not really sure what is going on. I have some Ann Cleeves on hold at the library I’ll pick up this week. ( she writes the Vera series).

Frugal Friday

A frugal week overall. No eating out, nothing extra bought, and just doing our usual things. Yesterday, I woke up with a mild flare-up of diverticulitis. I had a horrible attack almost 2 years ago exactly. This is definitely just a pain in the lower left abdomen but I’m keeping vigilant as you don’t want it to go full-blown. Mostly, I did pretty much nothing all day. We were planning to go out for lunch but I didn’t think that was a good idea. I’ll see how I am tomorrow. What I read was most mild cases do resolve themselves. It’s always something.

All the monthly bills are done and I’ve worked up next month’s budget. The biggest thing is paying off the house insurance bill. Then next up will be the property tax. We’ll get there:) I do think using the cash envelopes is working well and keeping us on track (mostly).

This morning I’m not going to the gym to rest more but I am making applesauce to can from some free apples my son’s friend gave us. It’s usually pizza night but I think I’ll do something in the crock pot that’s more easy on the digestive tract. I think I’ll make some brown rice too. High fiber is important with diverticulitis.

Barclay painted the cement patio yesterday grey. It came out terrible. WAY TOO BRIGHT. So now we need to go spend another $50 on a darker color. On the paint sheet, the color Armour looked darker than it is. I’ll let him go back to Lowes and get a different color next week. We’re supposed to have rain tomorrow morning so no painting.

Oh, and good news!!! My labs came back with no change. Kappa at 22.4 mg/L. Another month of freedom!!!

Simple Sunday

We actually have a cool morning with some overcast. It seems like a marine layer that is coming in. We had a lovely walk by ourselves. Nobody was there at all. Tomorrow is usually my non walk day but since I took Friday off from everything I will walk. I also go get my labs and then head down to the Rec Center to do some weights.

It’s been a busy few days. I pressure-canned the Baked Beans.

It only made 5 pints but the sauce tasted delicious. I plan on doing another batch but with the bacon. I’m having lots of fun learning this new way of food preparation.

I also started some sauerkraut. I had a lovely head of cabbage from the farm down the road and knew that’s what I wanted to do. I chopped it finely up and then add the salt which starts the cabbage to make the brine. I don’t have the weights or the special top for the sauerkraut but the Ball book of preserving said just use a 4ounce jar filled with water and press down. ( It fits in the wide-mouth jar perfectly.) so one head of cabbage made 1 Qt jar of kraut. I think I’ll wait the week out and then transfer it to the fridge. I plan on having it with the baked beans and some beer brats I have in the freezer. I’ll make B a veggie brat thing.

Then my son brought home a box of apples from his friend’s farm and I made a delicious apple pie.

I always only make one pie crust so I just use the extra that I cut off to make a lattice and use a cutter for the oak leaves.

I had pie for breakfast and it was quite good.

Today is just some house tidying, sheet day, and reading. Plus I’ll knit some later.

Friday things

With the number of annual bills that have just come in I’m not sure Frugal fits anywhere in Frugal Friday. Except for the property tax due in December or earlier, if we can manage it, they are paid. Now we just have to work on what we put on our Visa to pay them. The VW’s bill of $3000 is done and with the gas credit Gov. Newsome just sent out ( we got $700) ( a very nice windfall), that mainly went to the AAA insurance. So we’ll get there, but it will be at least another month, I think. Oh well, such is life when you live on a very limited income. It’s inch by inch row by row…Still, I’m grateful for all that we have and our continued health.

B just had his labs done and all looks great. 🙂 I go Monday for my monthly labs so we’ll see if I have another increase. It’s a guessing game.

Yesterday was my swim day and it was really nice at the pool. Not super busy. The water was really perfect. I may skip tomorrow but I’ll wait to see how I feel. We had a nice walk this morning and were watching the light because in 2 weeks or so is the end of or beginning of daylight savings and we fall back. So if we’re walking at 6 it’ll be 5 and that’s just too early. We haven’t seen AH at all in the last few weeks so that’s nice.

This morning I’m pressure-canning Homemade baked beans( minus the bacon). This recipe is from the new book I bought. This was a fairly simple recipe without lots of prep or chopping. It’s a great book with lots of meal ideas for canning. Right now I’m sticking to non-meat ones but maybe eventually I’ll add something else in.

I stopped at Winco after the pool because I needed the molasses and the Great Northern White beans for the recipe. Plus I picked up some packaged food I wanted for the freezer like Amy’s cheese enchiladas and Morningstar veggie bacon. Oh, I bought dried New Mexico Chilies because I want to try canning enchilada sauce. That’s my next pressure canning project. I checked on the All-American again and now they are ALL out of stock. So next year will be time enough for me to upgrade. My friend from the Koffee Klatch said, “oh no, I put mine in our yard sale pile when we moved”. I groaned ” oh no!!!”. Oh well C’est LaVie”.

Yesterday, I cut up our old linen sheet that had started to rip into cleaning cloths and hemmed them on my sewing machine. I plan on doing a few more today.

Tonight is a pizza night if I get the dough out of the freezer. I can always do some pasta with sauce otherwise.

Here’s a cute picture of Gus

He’s got a toy mouse on his head:)

Simple Sunday

The full moon was spectacular over the park this morning. I think the actual full moon is this evening but nonetheless, it was impressive on the horizon.

We’re enjoying watching the Rings of Power on Prime. It’s before LOTR and tells the back stories of Elves, Numenor, Dwarves, and when Gandalf fell from the stars( He’s the race of Wizards ). It is beautifully done. We also are on the 3rd movie of the Hobbit Trilogy. It gets a little long but still great. We always watch it around late September or early October. I usually read the books too but I think I’ll go back and just read the Appendixes which is where the new Prime series is based on.

This is a tough time for finances as all our fall annual bills come in and EVERYTHING has increased. Our PO Box fee went from $106 to $166. How can they do that??? Our house insurance( with us being in a fire zone) also increased by $600. I’ve had to put the insurance on our card and it’ll take a month or two to pay it off. sigh….. sigh… I hate that. It just seems everything is so expensive.

Yesterday after the pool, I came home and made the White bean Ragout from my new canning book.

So this is cannellini beans precooked, tomatoes, garlic, onion, veggie broth with a dash of chicken broth ( sorry B, just a little for flavor)…and chopped basil.

I’m really enjoying learning this process. I did freak out once as it was supposed to have made 6 qts and I got 4 so somewhere I didn’t add enough liquid although I did measure what the book said. I messaged the Happy Homemaker on Facebook and asked her and she said sometimes that happens and as long as I pressure canned at the right pressure and time it’s fine. ( which I did, it’s 15lbs of pressure for 90 minutes. I thought it was very thoughtful she answered me right away.

The next thing I want to try is Boston Baked Beans.

Tomorrow I have a dentist appt. We cancelled our Delta Dental after our dentist office went out of network so it became pointless to pay $71 a month and not get any benefits.

Then later this week our old Koffee klatch is going to meet up. Since it’s been 2 1/2 years it’ll be strange to see people. One person has moved down the ‘hill’ as we say up here in the foothills. Two people have spouses that are seriously ill now so that’s a hardship for sure. Still it’l be nice to see everyone again.