Frugal Friday

It was a frugal week overall. All of June’s bills are in for the month with the exception of the DMV for the truck which is due at the end of June. The DMV seems really high but maybe trucks cost more. We bought the truck a year ago so DMV fees were included and we didn’t probably notice.

This past week was 2 grocery shops. Winco for @ $100 and Costco for @$120. So not too bad. Most of those things will last the month of June and were some pantry refills. I plan on going to the store tomorrow for some camping food things we will need like half and half, some bananas, and at least one salad pack.

We’re leaving Monday and I don’t think were going to hit traffic going up to Tahoe as most of it will be coming down going west. Tahoe itself will probably be busy but we’re not planning on doing anything extra except a lunch out. We also need to go check the dump station in Zephyr Cove as Nevada Beach campground does not have a dump station. We’re only there 4 nights so it shouldn’t be a problem. Still, we will want to use a dump station before coming home.

Other expenses this week were the birthday present for my daughter, stuff from Home Depot, and some things from Amazon. I needed some black-out curtains to hang as the sun is pretty intense in the bedroom and the entryway this time of year. I also bought a Hario pour-over set for Rubi. We usually do the coffee press first thing but then after we walk we’ve felt like a coffee so this will give us 2 cups more. It’s a small pour-over carafe. Hario is supposed to be an excellent product so I’m excited to try it.

Tomorrow is a swim day and I’m hoping the pool is somewhat empty. The other day it was absolutely packed with people even waiting which does not happen very often. I also thought to go check out the gym over by the library for using weights. I’ve seen the building but haven’t gone in and I’m not sure what the set up is but it’s included in my monthly fee so it’s worth checking out.

I don’t have much on the schedule today except work out in the garden shed some. Tonight is pizza night and I think we’ll order one.

Post Script

After 6 months of glorious walking without the AH, he showed up yesterday. I almost fell over:(

So here’s the whole story, I decided a while ago that if he came back, which honestly I didn’t think was going to happen after 6 months, I would make an overture to him. So as he passed by I said ” Hey, Welcome back! Where’ve ya been??” Nicely… So he turns around( he a very dark sunglasses on so I couldn’t see his eyes) and looks at me and says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and then turns and keeps walking. I was floored. I really was totally floored by this. But he was here this morning and we just ignored him and he looked the other way when he saw us. I’m convinced he has some sort of social issue or a mental issue or both.

Simple Sunday

It’s been a productive week with taking down the tree, shopping at Costco, swimming, the library and lots of cooking.

Out of the Le Creuset book, I made both the French onion soup and the cheese souffle. The french onion soup used a chicken broth as a base and I don’t think it had enough rich flavor. Next time I would do a homemade vegetable stock and/or a beef bouillon cube. Yesterday, my son surprised me after I got home from swimming by starting the Lodge and making biscuits and sausage gravy. We had fun together and he really likes Lodge cooking. I’ve actually never had biscuits and gravy and it was delicious.

Today is a home day with cleaning the living room zone and probably I’ll add the sunporch in. Actually, I think this week, which is a light week with no appts, I’ll do a whole house zone cleaning. I’ve done this a few times and I like it. I don’t do it all in one morning but 2-3 mornings.

I read Greg Mckeon’s book Essentialism this week and am finishing his latest book, Effortless. I liked them both and felt he has some really good thoughts on living simply and with your best intentions. I also read “Oh, William” by Elizabeth Strout. Very thought provoking, and written in a clever narrative.

Budget wise everything is paid for the month and the ginormous check for the tree is cashed. So it’s all good. I do hope the neighbor doesn’t decide to change his mind about the logs because then we’d be on the hook for them.

Our weather looks lovely and sunny for the next 10 days and then we leave Mother’s day morning to go down to Capitola. I still haven’t booked anything at Refugio and in October after were back at Capitola we are going to stay 3 nights in Napa at the Expo RV place we stayed in before and really liked. So I’m not sure at this point if Refugio is going to happen. I almost think I’d rather try and plan our trip to San Diego early next year. I’m not sure we could afford Refugio and San Diego. The camping spots are not expensive it would be the gas.

Update: I just got spot 35 which is on the beach and next to the one we had last year. It’s just as nice a spot as 34 although 34 is the best. Now we just have to figure out do we still go to Capitola and then Refugio or skip one. I think since we have both booked I’ll just wait on it and think about it. We would need a stop over going down and back.

I can’t quite remember when we got his poster but I’m guessing in the early 1970’s as the VietNam war was happening. Somehow this poster survived all our moves and was hanging out in the barn till recently. I asked B to bring it in so I could frame it. Right now it’s just on a bull clip.

Wednesday things

A beautiful walk this morning under the Snow moon. Quite bright and no one showed up whilst we were there. Sunrise is definitely getting earlier now. Venus is very visible too.

I didn’t swim yesterday as the Santa Fe’s window is still not fixed. It should get sorted this afternoon though and I plan on swimming tomorrow. When we went to Costco on Monday, I went to the service counter to get a new card and the person asked where I had my purse stolen. So I said right down the road at the Mike Shellito pool and she said wow, I was the SECOND person in the last two weeks that had their car broken into there. WOW, is all I could say. Nothing new with the claims but it’s early yet.

Yesterday I made sourdough cinnamon/cran bread.

It was good. I think next time I’d use brown sugar and a little more. My favorite is still the jalapeno cheddar.

My pantry challenge is moving along and I figured out breaking down the Costco shop into categories( non -food, food) and then I separated all the food for just this week such as strawberries,half and half) and then all the longer term items like coffee, blocks of cheese, I calculated the cost per week and how many weeks would it take to use and then added those totals. So that was kind of a revelation. So if I broke down just this week’s food it came to $43. Then the breakdown of food for the month(like the coffee) was $20 a week. That’s things like tofu, coffee, cheese, ramen. Then B went to TJ’s and spent $25 on food.( Well,some how two TJ’s chocolate bars ended up in his cart, but that’s ok. So, that’s @$88 give or take a few dollars. I usually round up so, $90 with $10 left over. Our meals have been delicious with tamales one night, Tucson Stew another night, pasta with homemade alfredo sauce tonight.

I still think this $100 a week for 4 people would be very hard if you didn’t have some sort of pantry or freezer back up. I’m not planning on doing any major restocking for the prepper pantry. I think I’ll just keep getting some things that I like to keep extras of and call it good. For some people the idea of a year’s worth of food is comforting. For me, it seems slightly fear driven ( I totally did this too) but maybe the lesson out of it all was FOR WHAT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES ARE, keep some pantry in case of emergency and decide how much that is. For us, I think a reasonable balance is maybe a months worth of stuff. Now remember, I have always ( since 1975) bought in bulk my beans, rice, flour,etc. So that’s nothing new to me. But all the extras was somewhat recent with the pandemic. ( Think extra soup cans, condiments, etc). Well, life is a journey and we can only hope to learn from where we’ve been to where we are going.

Barclay had a good visit with his transplant doctor and the good news is he will go off Jakafi. That’s an anti-rejection drug that runs @ $7,000 a month(OOPS, Barclay said it’s$17,000 a month). Fortunately, he has the grant actually from the drug company and UCD charity.

This month is my renewal for LLS and there is no funding for myeloma so I’m trying to not panic too much. I just keep checking daily as the funding can come in and then be gone quite quickly. Hopefully by the end of February which is my renewal month.

Today I’m planning to drop off the last of my Fiesta ware that I know I’m not going to use at the Hospice Thrift. Then a few other errands like an Amazon return.

Friday Things

It’s been a tough week after the car break in. We still don’t have the window fixed and it won’t be till next Thursday. I plan on driving my daughter’s Honda Fit tomorrow to the pool. I finished all the paperwork for the claim but I’m certainly not holding my breath.

I made the pizza dough for tonight and also have my sourdough starter getting ready for another loaf of jalapeno cheddar bread. I’ll mix up the dough later and then refrigerate overnight and bake tomorrow morning.

So far the grocery challenge has been pretty easy. I went to Winco Tuesday and spent a little more than I wanted at $61. Then Barclay spent another $15 at Safeway for bread flour and cream and something else I can’t remember now. So I don’t need anything today or tomorrow so I’ll end the week at almost $80. I’ve got most of the menu for next week done. Monday we plan on going to Costco because we will need coffee. I’m still not sure how I will separate Costco in the weekly budget since some things will last more than a week. Maybe I’ll try and divide it up but that seems like more trouble or effort than it’s worth. So, I’ll need to think about that.

I was working on a spreadsheet form from a Youtuber. But, even though I enjoyed figuring it out for budget stuff in the end it was just too complicated. I do a daily budget sheet in my notebook, so I know exactly what’s going out and coming in. I might play with it some more but I doubt I’ll use it.

In March we will have some bigger expenses. Barclay is having some dental work and that’s going to cost @ 900. Then we have property taxes due and Federal taxes too. We will owe IRS a small amount this year. I’m okay with that as we did use some retirement savings(withdrawal) to do the half payment for the RV. So that will all add up and it will be a pricey month.

If you have Disney Plus, the Mandalorian show is quite good and we’re enjoying it. Oh, and the Amazon Prime new Reacher was EXCELLENT. The actor is perfect for how you visualize Jack Reacher.

Well, I’m off to town to drop a load at Goodwill so I better get a move on.

Post #1500.

It’s Saturday. This post is my 1500 one. I started my blog in 2012 so it’s almost 10 years old. (lo in April). I blog mostly as a journal and it’s fun for me to go back and read what was happening. Also with Myeloma, I like to keep track of what treatments I’ve had and when. It does put things in perspective.

Today is a swim day. I get to the pool @ 7:10 and swim till almost 8am. Saturdays are a mixed bag. Sometimes it’s busy and other times I get a lane to myself. It’s definitely worth my drive of 25 minutes to get there. As I’ve said there’s no pool in Auburn like this.

After that, I plan to hit up Winco for a FEW things. Their wines are the best prices around. So I’ll pick up something. My favorite right now is a French Rose. Not anything expensive, more like under $10. We are holding off on Costco till the week after next. I think we have enough coffee till then which is always the deciding factor.

The most exciting news this morning is my labs came in and there was NOT an increase in my Kappa light chains and it even went down a smidge.

Another month of things looking pretty good. Last month the kappa was 20.6mg/L so, hey, I’ll take it.

Frugal Friday

It’s been interesting not thinking about groceries on this low-budget food month challenge. This week, so far, I’ve spent 34.99. The 34.00 would have been even lower but B went to Safeway and bought 3 giant oranges for 4.97. It was an honest overlook as per pound it wasn’t too bad but they were very large so it weighed more. The same with apples. That’s ok, it was still a low-cost shop. Today I need to get some mozzarella for pizza night and I have a coupon for some free bananas. I think the biggest challenge is just mental and adjusting to I don’t need anything at the store or to build up the prepper pantry. Like I said, I’m trying to have us eat down both the freezer and pantry. Next week I plan on using some turkey for chili and then look at what else is in there. Overall, it’s been a good challenge.

We did fill up both buggie and the Santa Fe and gas is pretty steep at$4.59 to 4.79. per gallon. I try and fill Bugs up only once a month as I only drive that to Auburn and back.

Last week was an unexpected oak firewood purchase since we needed it and we saw it down at the corner where someone had a trailer full to sell. I wasn’t super happy that it wasn’t quite a cord when he dropped it off and the guy should have known. But he did drop off some extra after we complained. But even then I still don’t think it made up a full cord which is 4x4x8 and looks pretty impressive when you see it.

So far this morning, I’ve made the pizza dough, fed my sourdough starter, washed 3 shelves in the refrigerator. I’ve done some email stuff and checked LLS( Leukemia Lymphoma Society). Sadly, right now there is no funding for myeloma so my grant can’t be re-upped. I’ll keep checking every day because funding does come in on a daily basis. Still, that’s a big hit for us if I’m not getting my insurance covered. Hopefully, it’ll come in soon.

I don’t have any projects going on right now and feel a little adrift. I like to be working on something and nothing seems to be jumping out to be done. I’ll think about what can be reorganized or done differently. The kitchen always can use some organizing.

Here’s the last amaryllis bulb that’s blooming. I think this one is the prettiest so far. I’m still not crazy about them and won’t order bulbs next fall.

I plan on going into the pet bookstore this morning and dropping off some books and seeing what looks good. I still have a few PD James in my bedside table.

Simple Sunday

Another week of beautiful weather. I’m sure glad I don’t live in ‘snow country’ back east. Having grown up in NY, I remember snowy roads, ice storms, etc. But at 18, I left for Arizona and that was that.

The sourdough olive bread came out delicious.

I am having tons of fun trying these new bread recipes. I’m slicing and freezing about half of each loaf. I may need to experiment what’s the best way to freeze. Double wrap? aluminum foil? Not sure. Any bread bakers out there with suggestions? Up for today is cran-walnut sourdough!

I plan on dropping off Goodwill this morning and then hitting up Target for a wastebasket for the laundry room. I also want to pick up a faux sprig of apple blossom for the front/side door grapevine wreaths since I’m in the entryways this week. I think the week is split with the kitchen zone on Tuesday the first.

My favorite Youtuber, Minimom, in New Zealand was trying out a new cleaning system from Clean Mama. She’s very popular and has a huge following. I copied some PDFs for cleaning weekly and thought I’d try it but after writing it down, I felt it wasn’t going to work for me. Basically, she does have daily tasks and weekly ones. But for instance, once a week it’s the bathroom, once a week vacuum, etc. She also has monthly ones. I think it’s a good system if you have a large house and or family. For me, I felt it was over-complicated. here’s the link Clean Mama. Funny, you open the page and it says “cleaning doesn’t need to be complicated.” I think she has a good method, just not for my house.

Tomorrow I have my labs so I should know by the end of the week how much of a rise my Kappa light chains go. I hope it’s just small. If it follows the previous pattern it took, the rise is slow at first and then picks up and rises more quickly. I have a pretty good sense of how my body feels so that will also be an indicator. I don’t think it will be as long as last time since I’ve come out of remission so much faster( 6 months as opposed to 4 1/2 years. ) Oh well, it is what it is.

The Pantry Challenge

I always like a bit of a challenge so I decided to do a $100 a week grocery challenge. That’s for 4 adults. Usually, my grocery bill averages $700 for the 4 of us so that’s a $300 difference. So that means using lots of pantry and freezer items. We’re in a good place to do that as both are filled although the freezer is only about half full that’s ok. I think if you didn’t have a well-stocked pantry $100 a week for 4 adults might be hard.

My plan is to keep a list of what I’m using and where I’ll replenish it like Costco or Winco.

So far I’ve spent $30 at Winco and .48 at Bel-air. The Winco shop was almost all veggies and salad stuff plus milk and a half and half.

The meals this week have been:

Smokey Lentil Soup with cheese quesadillas. The lentil soup is a favorite from NYT.

Sheet pan nachos. This is a new way( for me) to make nachos that I took off of Mavis Butterfield’s blog. She makes her nachos this way in the oven. It’s a great way to do it and very easy and clean up is a breeze.

An Ina Garten recipe for Bouef Bourguignon. I made it in the crockpot and that was a winner too.

Tonight is a big salad and grilled chicken /tofu. We use to call this the Kitchen Favorite because back in the 70’s the original vegetarian restaurant in Auburn was called “The Kitchen’. Of course, it didn’t have chicken but basically, it was salad, grilled tofu, and avocado slices. They made the best blue cheese dressing which I’ve never been quite able to duplicate but Trader Joe’s blue cheese dressing is close.

Tomorrow will be homemade pizza. I have everything I need.

Saturday, I’m planning tofu burgers with all the fixings and fries.

Sunday will end the week out or begin the week depending on how I look at it. Maybe a spaghetti night.

Snow…

Whoo Whee…it is cold. We woke up to snow on Tuesday morning and it kept going off and on. We usually get a sprinkling of snow at our elevation a couple of times during winter. This was a big snowstorm for the Sierras and is much needed. Needless to say, I didn’t venture out to swim. I probably would have been fine on the freeway but with Caltrans discouraging any travel, I didn’t feel I needed to add to it.

It’s bright and clear this morning and 27degrees. So the trees in the park were very frosty.

I went into Winco after swimming yesterday for a few things. And next week I’ll hit Trader Joe’s for a few things including fondue, which is our traditional Christmas eve dinner. So far even with Costco, I’m under budget for food/alcohol( mostly wine). If my calculations are correct, a total of @ $550 is really quite good. So if I add the TJ’s trip at about $100 that brings me under budget. Of course, there will be the run to the market here for the odds and ends before the end of the year but usually, that’s not too much. Shopping at Winco and the new Trader Joe’s, and of course, Costco has definitely made a difference from shopping just Safeway.

Other than that there are no unusual budget expenses for the rest of the month. January is a NO SPend month so no projects or Home Depot trips. Anything that the house might need is excluded like vacuum filters or the filters for the air filter thing.

Today I’m planning on taking the couch covers and washing them. I do this around every 3 months. This Ikea couch has been absolutely fabulous and I love it. When it’s time for a new one I’ll definitely do Ikea but maybe a bit more of a midcentury look. I’ve been waiting for the two chairs forever( since the beginning of the pandemic). The Poang chairs still look good and quite comfortable.

My son is headed to Yosemite today and is going to be there a few days. It should be quite beautiful as it got a lot of snow.

I need to go make some pizza dough and I was going to make bagels but the Barley Malt I ordered from Amazon was lost in the mail so I need to find it in a store. I haven’t been too inspired with cooking lately but maybe over the Holidays or not???

My minimalist Christmas decor.

Frugal Friday

I made bagels yesterday and that was VERY frugal. When I go to Flour garden, it’s $22 dollars for a dozen organic bagels. We do like them a lot but that gets pretty expensive even if I do that twice a month. So I tried the King Arthur recipe and watched some Youtube channels. They came out pretty excellent but I didn’t get the rise I wanted. I think because 1. I didn’t use bread flour, just all-purpose, 2. I didn’t do a slow overnight rise. So tomorrow I’m going to try again and do both. it was fun making them. And probably the cost is maybe $2.00 for a dozen.

We’re not ordering pizza tonight. I’ll either do one of my frozen meals or I will make a breakfast casserole. We’re not getting lots of eggs ( which is great) but I have 3 dozen in the fridge. I think I even have a TJ’s frozen pizza if we want that and make a nice salad on the side. Ordering pizza out is nice once in a while but is WAY too expensive. $30 for a large pizza is crazy especially when it’s probably maybe $3.00 of ingredients. I’ve put the Ooni away for winter because by dinner time it’s too dark and cold outside to use it.

I have only done the Winco shop so far this month and that was on the 2nd so grocery wise things are in line with the budget. I plan on going to Costco Monday( it’s always the coffee) to get some things. I want to avoid Costco too close to Christmas as it is a madhouse. On my way to swim though, at 7am, I’ve gotten Costco gas which is a huge saving. I do not plan on a big stock up at Costco, just basics.

Today is a home day for me and there’s a few pottering things I want to do. I plan to iron a few linen napkins, mop the kitchen floor, wash a few windows and maybe a few other things.

I finished another PD James mystery. This one was an early one of hers called ‘Innocent Blood’. Very compelling story. Now I started another Dagliesh one. She is a superb writer.

Well, off to make a cup of tea.