Five on Friday

  • We’re still waiting to hear on the RV. I’m guessing the one that came in was the bunk bed one as I saw it on their website. That’s ok. The longer the money is in our savings the better, I guess. It’s a big leap for us to use savings but as I said( mostly to myself), if not now , When?? So that’s it. Especially after fellow blogger Teresa just up and died suddenly, who know how much time any of us have. I wouldn’t risk using more money than I feel we can handle though. We only have SS as income and some retirement savings but relative to most retirees, it’s probably very miniscule. But regardless, we’ll manage somehow or another.
  • The 8 mg of Dex was pretty easy to take. It’s still Dex so there is that. Next week I plan on doing the 12mg again.
  • We fired up the Ooni because it said do a 30 minute burn at full temperature. So that’s done and I have dough ready. I plan on doing 3 pizzas :marguerite, pepperoni, and a broccoli bacon/ veggie bacon.

I wrote on the chalkboard, 30 pizzas at $10 will pay for the Ooni. It’s probably less than 30 since most of the wood fired 12 inch pizzas like at Mod pizza and 965 Blast are more like 12.99 and up. But I figured I’d just do it at $10 and times that by 30.

  • Our weather is supposed to cool slightly which is nice. This season has already been too hot and dry. I am really worried about fire this year. We have a good defensible space but even so a big fire could just blast through.

Frugal Friday

The sunrise on our daily walk.

It was a frugalish week. No major expenses came up except buying the paint for the garden shed and the fence( redwood stain) but my daughter paid for these as part of her monthly rent. It worked out well especially since paint is so expensive.

I did do the Trader Joe’s shop but that will carry over to May’s food budget. So far the month looks good on the food budget. I’m definitely under $600. Separating wine/beer and non food has given me a better picture of what is just food. Of course, there wasn’t a big Costco shop this month. We are planning Costco on Sunday as the coffee is almost gone. So I suspect that will come in @ $400. We have our rebate to use so that will reduce the cash flow out.

Here are some of the lilacs blooming.

We both submitted our LLS copays and we should be getting that refunded as part of our grant with them. I’m absolutely sure we would not be making ends meet if we had to pay the medical copays. So the LLS grants( done yearly) are a big savings for us.

Tonight is pizza night and I’m doing a homemade one with TJ’s dough. I have to say the pizza dough is one of their best deals at $1.19( I think) it may have gone up. But you get 2 pizzzas out of one dough and the freeze really well.

I’m still debating getting the outside pizza oven. I think we’d get our money’s worth out of it but still it is a one use thing which I don’t normally like to do. But we calculated 10 pizzas at $30 would pay for it. Since we have pizza almost every Friday night it would pay for itself pretty quickly. The big advantage is it heats up to 925 degrees in 15 minutes. You’ll never get a conventional oven to do that.

Monday Musings

It’s cloudy today. I guess no BBQ tonight. That’s ok, I have plenty of things I can cook. Because of chickens laying so many eggs, I will make a quiche of some sort. I have the pie crust in the refrigerator chilling. I don’t know why I resist making crusts. In the food processor it took all of 2 minutes to get it to form a ball and then into the fridge.

This morning I have already done the bedroom zone, made the quiche crust, windexed the mirrors and am still needing to vacuum.

I also paid the UCD bill for April by phone. I still need to do Allstate some time this week. That’s not due till April as well but I might as well do it sooner than later. I can remember vividly when we had zero money to pay bills on time and always had to do payments. Even our property taxes we had to arrange. Grocery shopping was limited and there was NO extra money for anything. I am grateful that we can pay what we need to. There’s not a lot left over but to me that’s fine as long as the basics are paid.

My son, who spends money like crazy,:) asked for a special edition Rockstar Pendleton for his birthday so I will do that too. It’s a throw size and quite stunning in reds and blacks with men on horses riding facing forward. I guess it’s from some game he plays.

The kitchen is back together and next we will move on to the entryway and B’s cubby. The one wall was actually an outside wall so it’s the siding on the house. It’s painted in the Navajo White I used originally around the house. We’re planning to use the semi gloss on that and the other siding too. I don’t think we’ll start this week but maybe Saturday. This area was a deck that we built right after we moved and remodeled. So 26 years ago. Then at some point we closed it in as room. At some point we should make the foundation of it up to code as it is only on foundation blocks. i don’t know maybe that would work but I doubt it and it would need concrete. Well, that’s out of my zone of things to think about.

Today is our no walk day and I don’t plan on going anywhere.

Five on Friday

The rug I bought for the entryway/B’s office space is way to big and the door hits it so it needs to go back to Costco. He turned his desk toward the wall so I moved a small rug I have in front of my little Ikea couch to put under his chair. It looks way better. I’m not a big fan of rugs everywhere so this is a good option for now. In the winter we do need small rugs to wipe our feet on but the rest of the time I pull them up.

We had a nice walk with only one other guy who showed up. We see him on a rare occasion but usually he walks on the side of the road. It was supposed to be raining so no one else was there ie; AH!! Or if he was, he was gone by the time we got there. So quite lovely.

We’re starting the painting this morning. I took all the jars off my wall shelves. I think we’re going to add another shelf for my larger Ball jars. I’ve been so frustrated with Ikea and them not having ANYTHING IN THE WAY OF PANTRIES FOR ALMOST A YEAR NOW. Next to the fridge is where I want a Sektion freestanding 4 door pantry. I’ve checked every week but still out of stock. I really don’t want to do something else as I like the Ikea line and it works well for us. I’m hoping that we can get down there in the next month and maybe I can speak with one of the kitchen design people and find out when it might be available. In the meanwhile the restaurant shelves will have to do.

I’m planning on starting a freezer/pantry clean out. I’d like to try and make all our meals from either the freezer/pantry for the next 2 weeks. So far I have

  • lamb chops, new spring potatoes, asparagus, and quiche for the veggies( B and whoever else doesn’t want lamb). We actually rarely it but once a year in spring I like to do some.
  • ravioli with Rao sauce
  • burgers on the BBQ both meat and veggie
  • tofu scramble with veggies, nuts, and seeds,
  • breakfast for dinner as we are getting so many eggs:)
  • split pea soup
  • lentil soup
  • turkey chili/vegetarian chili with cornbread
  • pasta night
  • frozen lasagna night
  • Another quiche, probably mushroom/gruyere
  • grilled chicken on the BBQ/tofu on the BBQ
  • polenta with cheese and sauce, salad
  • Thai something with rice, either tofu or chicken or chickpeas. I do have some dry chickpeas I need to use.

I’ve done the budget for April and the extras are Allstate car insurance, DMV for the Santa fe, the UCD extra fucked up bill, and think that’s all.

I was going to go to town but decided to wait till tomorrow and get a few more chores done since Thursday’s really not too productive with the Dex. Today though the energy is there so I might as well use it.

Five on Friday

Finally, it’s 2021. I’m not sure how great the year will be but I’m hopeful. I start Velcade mid month, as expected. I asked about getting my shots in Rocklin which is about 25 minutes away, and he said sure that would work. Mercy ( or Dignity Health),has a satellite facility there and it will make it easier. Unfortunately, I’ve fractured another rib so it’s smart that I’m starting now. Fractures, in case you don’t know about Myeloma, are one of the damaging aspects of this cancer. I’ve had multiple rib fractures, so I know what it feels like. Unfortunate, to have it happen right now and also quite painful. It limits how much stuff I can do around the house. With rib fractures there’s not much you can do. If it’s a vertebrate or another bone they can some intervention. Oh well, I’m just glad it’s not a vertebrate.

We had a fun New Years eve with sub sandwiches from our Holiday Market. We watched the newish Starsky and Hutch and it was fun. We didn’t crack the champagne but will today.

Budget wise, I came under $800 on groceries including holiday food and alcohol. This is the lowest I’ve had since the pandemic started and I was stockpiling every month. Into January I’ll try and keep it between $700-800. That includes food, non food, and alcohol.(mostly wine and some beer). I’m planning a Costco trip mid month so we’ll see how much that adds if I add in prepper stuff. I’m not planning to but will stockpile a few things like coffee, Rosarita veg. beans, TP, and a few other things. The rest is just stuff we need like cheese, fish, bread etc.

I’m starting another round of decluttering. Mostly this is paper stuff. I’m going thru all our old receipts, medical things and throwing away anything that isn’t needed. Also, little stuff in drawers, like old pens, screws etc. It probably won’t add up to a lot but I’m motivated to do another sweep. I also started a bag for the food bank with food I know we’re not going to really eat. ( I see you canned chicken:) ). There’s nothing big I’m decluttering like furniture since everything we have has already gone thru multiple layers of decluttering. Still, I always like to look at things from a fresh perspective.

I’ve made up my monthly meal plan.

I’m renaming Wednesdays, Pasta Wednesday since that will be my Velcade/Dex day. It’ll make it easier for the others to cook if they know what the plan is. 🙂 I also dashed out to Target to get one of their simple calendars. I loved the one from last year but they didn’t have quite that style. It’s funny how such a simple thing like a minimalist calendar is so hard to find. I checked all over and the nicest were like $20 and up. Even on etsy they were expensive. So Target had just what I wanted for $5.00. It was pretty empty just like I hoped.

Looking back at the year… and ahead!

The year that shall not be named, oh F#ck it, 2020, was certainly difficult.

All the Covid deaths, the necessary lockdowns, enormous food bills, canceling all our trips including Yosemite, Yellowstone, etc, and all the rest. Certainly, the election was totally anxiety-filled and still is until Biden is sworn in. The stuff trump is still pulling is appalling. ANd all the GOP spineless idiots. Some of the stuff that comes out of their mouths is truly mind-boggling. I read in the WP that the idiot( he’s a newly elected representative) that is possibly going to challenge the votes recently said,” he found out that there were three branches of government”. WTF? are you mentally challenged?

At least we’ve been healthy so there’s that. Both of my kids have their jobs, so that’s excellent.

Climate change is worrying with California fires and really no rain. We’ve had a few days but nothing like normal.

Barb, over at “Living Richly in Retirement”, is a great blogger. She recently moved to Texas( very brave in my opinion) and was just writing about going over her budget categories for the new year.

So I got to thinking that I’d like to do that too. I’m going to look back at food( of course the pandemic meant Instacart a number of times), what I spent on Amazon stuff( scary amount), and Home Depot( home improvement). Then I can realistically set some numbers for 2021. Like do we want to set a certain limit? I’m not sure. Basically, I usually look at , Can we afford it? So set amounts might be a good new way forward.

Catagories could be:

home improvements/ this might be just stuff around the house or bigger like the window replacements/

outside/yard stuff( especially in spring and summer we do spend a lot on seeds, plants, dirt/soil.

dining/take out. This isn’t too hard. I usually give us $50. which is pizza night and a taco night.

travel/camping, In a normal year when we go camping, it is paid for in advance, and usually, I bring or give us @ $200 for food or fun. I’d have to add up a normal year but based on 2019 I’d say $1,000.

Annual bills are fixed amounts so I know those numbers.

I’ll keep thinking of other areas too. Clothing etc is generally not a category as we really only buy something if we need it. I need some new Birkies this year and a new pair of jeans. Birthdays, anniversary, we don’t do much but it might be good to designate something.

Medical/ we have Medicare and supplemental plans so those amounts are in the monthly budget. We did get a SURPRISE ( not good) letter from UCD med center saying we still owed $2500 from Barclays transplant. I freaked out. So we’re waiting till she sends what it is in a letter. But I will call and challenge whatever it is as we were told over and over after we reached the deductible it was 100% covered so I have no idea where they are coming up with this. When we did the GoFundMe, $6000 of the 10,000 we got went to that deductible. So???? I’m not as freaked now since it usually takes me a few days to calm down but still it will need to be dealt with and how much going back to that paper work am I going to have to do??? Not happy about this. Plus, WTF, it’s now 18 months later.

Well, I’ll start my list with those things and see what else should be added.

Frugal Friday

It’s been an okay week. I was supposed to go to the eye doctor yesterday for my 6 month retinal scan for my macular pucker in my right eye but I woke up feeling lousy from allergy stuff I’m guessing. I called at 8am and asked to reschedule. Usually I just ‘plow‘ thru as is my nature but this time I just wasn’t up for ‘plowing’ thru. Fortunately, they were very nice and rescheduled me. Today I feel pretty much back to normal. Still a little sinusy.

Tuesday we had a fun day getting our Christmas tree in the Tahoe area. We stopped for coffee at our favorite place in Tahoe City, Tahoe House. They are a local establishment that’s been there as long as I can remember. There coffee is made with some fancy Swiss machine and is almost like a cappuccino with crema on top. Delicious. After that we headed down the lake and found the tree area and a nice tree.

This time of year in Tahoe is one of my favorite. Hardly any traffic and no tourists. Really lovely!!

There wasn’t much snow on the ground but what was there was very icy and made walking a bit treacherous. But it was fun and now the tree is up.

Obviously, we’re not using this whole tree.

Obviously, we’re not using that whole tree in our small house. You still need to cut the base off at 6 inches and the diameter can’t be more than 6 inches. We cut about 4 feet off and put that in the car to bring home for a Yule log. When we got home we cut an additional 4 feet to make another log and then I used the branches for wreath making and around the house.

The permit was $10. I bought it online and when I checked the next day they were already sold out. I think that happened one other year when we were too late.

I made a delicious beef stew in my new white Staub Cocotte. I waited since Black Friday last year for this deal to come up again. The pot is smaller than my Le Crueset and the design is somewhat different. Under the top are small points that catch the moisture and so the liquid doesn’t just evaporate. I simmered it on the stove most of the day and very if any liquid evaporated. I don’t know if the sale is still on, but if you’re looking for a small dutch oven this one is great.

I paid one of our cars DMV this week and the ‘ole’ van is due at the end of January. I budget these in to annual bills.

Today I’m doing a Walmart pickup for some fill ins like salad stuff and half and half. I think my next in store shop will be Trader Joes in a week or so. That way I can get what ever small things I need for Christmas dinner. We always do fondue Christmas eve and TJ’s has a very good fondue mix. I’m not planning on Costco till mid January and that will be because of coffee. I bought an extra bag last time so we should be set till mid January.

I’m planning to do a No spend month or even a No Spend couple of months. I don’t include groceries in that but NO AMAZON!!!! I’m sure, like most people, Amazon is so easy to just click buy and voila, it shows up. So that’s where I need to just stop that except if it’s a need for the house( like garbage bags or the filters for the air purifier).

Tonight is a pizza night, so I want to get the dough made before I go to Walmart so I’d better get going.

Frugal Friday

It was a frugal week overall. The grocery shop at Trader Joe’s will go on November’s grocery bill. So far October has been around $800 all inclusive. That’s food, non food and alcohol. So actually I’m ok with that total. For 4 people eating 3 meals a day, I’d say it’s quite good.

Gas has been quite reduced since we don’t really drive anywhere. I fill my VW up about every 6 weeks and that runs around $30. The Santa Fe fills up about once a month at $50. So really that is a big savings.

All our annual bills are done for the year so that’s also a savings as we wont have property tax or Allstate till next spring. I paid the property tax way early( for once) and that’s kinda nice. Usually I’d wait till the first week of December to do it.

We don’t have family to buy gifts for so that reduces Christmas spending. I usually get my brother a GC to either Tractor Supply or Starbucks. Then I send my sister a consumable gift usually wine or something a little fancy.

For us, I keep it simple. For each of us, one book(almost always an Easton Press), one piece of clothing, something fun, and something they need. My son will get a GC to Home Depot since he’s working on the barn and rebuilding/strengthening part of it. I still end up spending more than I’d like but it’s not bad. I try and buy all year long when I see something then I don’t have to think about it. Pre pandemic, I would often find things at the thrift store all year to put away for Christmas but not this year. I’ve gone into Goodwill 2x since the pandemic started and it wasn’t all that interesting.

Tonight is pizza night and I think we’re going to order something. I need to check but I think we’ve done 2 takeouts this month. Well, I know one was the free pizza from the store and my daughter bought Tacos one day so I’m not sure what else we did this month. Anyway, I don’t have the pizza dough made so that kinda settles it anyway.

I finished the Return of the King yesterday. The trilogy takes me about a month to get thru and is thoroughly enjoyable everytime I read it. This is my 3rd or 4th time. Next up I’m going to re read, To Kill a Mockingbird as part of that takes place at halloween( BOO Radley!!). Anyway, I was going to start Dracula which I also read once a year but maybe later.

Five on Friday

*Let me be the first to say, Trump and Melania testing positive is just what he deserves for not taking any precautions or even taking Covid-19 seriously. We never go anywhere without masks and sanitizer. We don’t mingle in crowds or go to Target to browse. Nada!! ” So stupid is as stupid does” Forrest Gump!!

*My son is very creative and loves to build things related to movies/props/video games. So using a 3D printer he built this

and another angle

This is from The Portal Game; The Aperture Science handheld Portal Device. ( For us non gamers, this is a video game)

Pretty amazing! and he figured out the electronics so it changes colors,red to orange to green to blue.

Way beyond my comprehension. Maybe all that homeschooling and building projects did something?? nah, I think he’s just super smart.

*Yesterday I made a very yummy applesauce cake with the left over apples I had. It turned out way better than I thought it would.

I dusted powdered sugar on top to make a finishing touch. It’s almost gone this morning!! The recipe also did not use eggs and I wasn’t sure about that but it was fine.

*Budget wise, things are pretty good. Except for the Ikea trip we didn’t spend any extra. Since we do Ikea maybe 2x a year, I’m okay with picking stuff there like extra kitchen towels, pantry jars etc. Plus, if you have an Ikea near your Tuesdays and Wednesdays they open at 9am for over 65. It was great to get in there and there were only a few people in there. No kids! Very worth it! We will need to still pay the AAA fair California bill but we haven’t gotten it yet. I’m guessing it’ll be there any day in the mailbox. Plus the other big expense will be property tax. I’m planning on paying that when we drop our ballots off at the county voting box.

*I spent a little down at the market for milk and a loaf of rustic bread and Guiness Stout for the Welsh Rarebit I made for dinner last night. I love Welsh rarebit. It’s basically cheese sauce on toast. The recipe was form the NYT (mark Bittman). It was a little strong on the stout.

Since we had pizza on my birthday, tonight I will do either breakfast for dinner or a frittata with some potatoes or???? mystery night!!

*BTW, if you follow Flylady this is a 2 zone week. Yesterday started the Entryway/dining room zone. Always a good time, if you have a dining room to declutter,simplify and minimize what you have. I don’t have a ‘real’ dining room. Our table is in the main room. I have the Heywood wakefield hutch which holds my Tepco pine cone ware. So all I do is wash the glass on it and dust. I also make sure the table is clear except for my beeswax tapers and seasonal decor( right now it’s the little white pumpkins from the garden, and our linen napkins in a bowl.

Ok, that was 6 things with a lot mixed in:)

Budget Friday

I’m trying to come up with a good blog title for Fridays. I’m not sure Frugal Friday quite fits.

Overall, we are frugal because we have no income per se except SS. So maybe just Budget Friday would work. I’ll see. But budget-wise, all Octobers bills are in. We do have the 2 annual bills of house insurance and Allstate which is twice a year. With ALL the insurance companies getting out of insuring California property, for the most part, we are now having to do the California Fair Plan which is added to the AAA insurance. We went from our annual bill being slightly over $1,000 to now we are slightly over $2,000. Quite a jump.

Costco was just at $450, so that will go on October’s food budget. About $70 was wine and beer. I did buy a bottle of nice champagne for celebrating birthdays. Actually, it wasn’t expensive at $15.00. Plus there were a few prepper items and 2 bags of Starbucks coffee that was on sale. With all 4 of us drinking coffee we go thru quite a bit. But I don’t see us going back to Costco till the very end of October or even the first week of November which could then include any Christmas food or items. Prepper stuff included tuna, Cholula sauce, TP, another case of water, extra butter, and extra cheese. The only thing I didn’t get and I need is some tamari sauce. I’ll probably just go down here to the store and pay their price. The best place to get low sodium tamari is Trader Joe’s but I don’t think I’ll be getting there any time soon.

So far this morning I have made pizza dough, washed living room windows, cleaned the ceiling fan, and am just about ready to clean the rest of the sunroom.

Our lovely fall weather continues with absolutely beautiful days with temperatures in the mid to high 80’s. Next week does have a few 93degree days but this time of year that doesn’t seem so bad.

Budget-wise, I did my LLS for the UHC premium and my medicare which they cover for 2 months so that will be here in a week or so. I am very grateful to LLS for my grant (myeloma) as it does cover health insurance. If we had to pay OP for us both it’s almost $700 so I’m not sure how the budget would do. Probably we would be in the red. But there are gifts sometimes even with having cancer.

B did order the boards for the house ( 5 of them) so that was $120 about. But the siding needs to be fixed. Other stuff, even the fencing by the barn is optional and can be put off if we don’t have extra money.

If you’re looking for a new TV series, The Boys, is quite good. It’s super heroes that are darker more evil and is well done. We just started Season 2 on Netflix.

Well, that’s a wrap for now.