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.

Friday Stuff

There are fires everywhere here in California. There is smoke everywhere and it’s best not to be outside too much. We did walk this morning but only a mile as you could see the smoke haze as it got light.  Vacaville is around an hour and a half or less away so that’s where most of the smoke is coming from. There’s also the fire near Reno and the smoke is filling the Tahoe Basin. This was the week we were supposed to be in Tahoe so perhaps it’s all for the best. So many people were getting evacuated that I -80 was shut down in Vacaville and Fairfield. Pretty scary stuff.

I feel somewhat optimistic after the DNC that perhaps the winds of change is toward decency again. But after the last election, it’s hard not to feel like something awful could happen. I honestly do not think our democracy would survive another 4 years of Trump. Extreme? maybe or maybe not.  We’re planning on taking our absentee ballot down to Auburn and drop at the office of the registrar. Easy to do and we’ll know its there.

I needed to do a fill-in shop before I do Costco at the end of the month so I decided to do Walmart pick up.  It was actually great. I forgot how easy it is to do and I love I can add on since I forgot a bunch of things and then everyone wanted to add a snack or fruit or something. I ended up just over $100. So that’s great. If I bought the same stuff at Bel Air it would easily be $200. One new thing I’m doing that I got from the Tightwad Gazette is to keep track of price points. It’s quite interesting to see the price differences. I’m sure if I was a couponer I could do better. But so far Costco still has most store prices beat.  For example, a half-gallon of organic milk runs about $4.79 in the stores. At Costco 2 gallons is just over $10.00. That is a huge difference.  There are lots of other examples too but what is at issue is you need either a second refrigerator or a freezer or have 10 kids which will drink all that milk. We just freeze the milk till we’re ready to use it.  Anyway, it’s been a fun exercise it frugality.

My right side ribs are pulled again and I’m having limited mobility with it but since I’ve had chronic rib fractures due to Myeloma, I just figure It’ll pass. Of course, the concern with myeloma is it does affect the bones so fractures are a common result of this cancer.  I see my doctor next week so we’ll see what he says.

I’m still making some freezer salsa and waiting on the next batch of Roma tomatoes to ripen. Probably by Sunday I’ll be able to make some more tomato sauce.  We definitely will have plenty to get thru the winter. I’ve been drying basil too since we have a nice crop this year.

We’re in between projects and since it’s been too hot outside to work on fences or anything for that matter. In the house, I still want to get painting done but we need to go get that paint at the Benjamin Moore store and that’s down by Trader Joes in Roseville. So maybe next week. Also there are a few pine boards in my office that need replacing so I’d like that to get done.  We are also planning on redoing our outside laundry since the floor is in bad shape. It’d be nice to have laundry somewhere in the house but there isn’t any space for a washer and dryer unless we built an addsition which we don’t have money for. Well, I’m grateful for what we do have.

 

Frugal Friday

With the abundance of cherry tomatoes and Roma tomatoes, I’ve been making lots of salsa.

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First, I followed the Ball recipe for salsa to the letter and even with the added safety of a 1/8 of citric acid which is done to keep the acid ratio correct.  I ended up with 4 pints of beautiful looking salsa for wintery days when you want to think back to these beautiful summer days. KIDDING……right now it’s supposed to be 102 today and 105 tomorrow.  Yes, summery but not my idea of fun.

Then I made freezer salsa which is super easy since there is no canning. Just up in the food processor and whip up. Put in jars with enough headspace and freeze. And, oh my, it was delicious.  I even made one scrambled egg just so I could pour about 1/2 cup of the salsa on it. It was more like salsa with an egg.  Yummy…

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Today is normally pizza night but with this heat, it ain’t happening. Even if we ordered it’s still too hot for pizza. So I’m making a nice spinach soup that we can have either chilled or slightly warm. My favorite recipe is from the catering mystery series that starts with ” Dying for Chocolate”. It’s a great series with the main character as the caterer who also happens to solve murders. So her recipe for Goldielockes Gourmet Spinach soup is delicious. She doesn’t use a stick blender to mix but I do since I prefer it as smooth soup.  Then if I’m really motivated, I might make a few grilled cheese bites to go with it.

So, the prepper barn pantry was getting pretty warm with this heatwave. So we went to Home Depot and bought the cheapest cooler we could for the window. It is keeping it marginally cool but we also have a swamp cooler out there but the switch was not working and the part needed to be ordered. So it arrived this morning and now it is fixed ( thanks to the handyman husband).!!!! So the barn temperature is at 72 which is really good.  So I’m pretty happy about that. Since we don’t have a garage that could be a designated pantry and kept cool, this is the best I can do.

On the frugal side, all the bills for the month are done except the water bill which comes in on the 20th. I have auto-pay for that so it comes out of our checking.

My LLS check arrived for my Medicare amount and prescription Part D amount. Always very grateful to the LLS and its donors that provide these grants to many people all of who have some type of blood cancer.

Well, off to clean up the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

Five on Friday

  • Well, I ordered the upright freezer.

That’s the good news. The bad news is delivery is 3 months away. Who knows if it even will be delivered or I will get an out of stock notice. I think I must have gotten one of the last ones.  This Lowes upright was $719. From there they went way up at $1500 and higher.  So we’ll see. But I have a plan for this upright and feel it is a wise investment. Regardless of the pandemic, it’ll be nice to have a 6 months’ worth of freezer stuff and be done with it.

  • Our budget is done for August and all bills accounted for.  I put in for my LLS reimbursement. They have a new format on their website and it is very easy to use. If I didn’t get the reimbursement for insurance I don’t think our monthly income from SS would cover it. So I am very grateful for all who donate to the LLS.
  • We are planning a trip to Costco next week( 1st week of August). I don’t need to go to the store before then so that’s nice. I’m not planning on prepper stuff just normal we need like cheese, bread, olive oil, and some other random things.
  • Tonight is pizza night. Tomorrow I plan on BBQing a pork roast for the carnivores and will probably do a Field Day roast sausage for the vegetarian.
  • I canceled the extra Amazon channels of Brit Box, and Acorn for now as we have watched all the current shows we like. Maybe when some new seasons come out I’ll re-up. But that saves almost $15.00 a month. Then I saw somehow we were paying for PBS masterpiece too so I canceled that. We haven’t watched any of those channels for quite a while so I guess we were throwing that money away. Right now, we mostly watch Amazon Prime stuff and are currently rewatching Death in Paradise which is a good detective show.
  • I need a new book so I  may peruse Amazon for an ebook today.
  • I’ve decided to take a Facebook break. So I’m deactivating my account for a month. I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook but I just feel it’s time to break away for a while. It’ll be interesting to see how I feel when it’s over.  Maybe my creativity will get sparked again.??
  • okay, I can count and this is more than 5!!!!

 

Five on Friday

I think I will just abandon Friday for now as nothing we’re doing is very frugal. But five on Friday does highlight that.

  • So we went and did the Costco and Trader Joes trip on Tuesday. We went early and TJ’s was still fairly busy. But we were in and out at a mere $167. Some snacks, tofu, frozen veggies, salad stuff, tea, wine, and who know what else. Costco was busy but again we made it thru pretty easily although by the time we left it was getting packed. I had one woman run in front of me almost knock me over( not really, just imagining) to get to the Clorox wipes. Geez, lady.  My son wanted some Knobb Creek whiskey? so that was expensive. But it was a giant bottle. Anyway, we got out of there under $200 with $100 being the whiskey, his Captain Morgan Rum, and B’s Sierra Pale ale. All of which I do not imbibe.
  • Our windows finally arrived so we went and got those from Home Depot.
  • We were back at Home Depot to get wood for the windows and insulation. There is some dry rot that needs to be fixed. More $$$.
  • The weather is heating up to 100 degrees + this week. Not my favorite thing.
  • I made three new recipes this week. Organic Turkey meatballs. They came out pretty darn good. Then I made on the BBQ a seasoned Tri-Tip from Costco I had bought back in March. I watched a YOu Tube to see how it was done and I actually followed the directions and it came out great. Then I had bought some fresh Ahi Tuna at Costco. It was pricey but again I watched YouTube and got the timing down as it’s a quick sear. It came out really good and there was enough for all 3 of us meat-eaters to have lunch the next day. So $17. for 2 meals for 3 people. It’s not beans and rice but we eat that a lot of the time anyway.
  • My daughter bought a ceiling fan for her room and the wiring is too sold to reuse so B will need to go get the right wiring for that too. This old house was really not built very well and then when we had the wiring redone when we moved in the guy who did it, did the worst job possible. He totally screwed what circuits do what and it’s really a mess but to try and prefix that would just be too expensive. So we’ll do what we can.

California along with many other states is seeing an increase in COVID -19 cases. Honestly, this whole thing with people NOT wearing masks is getting out of hand. If it saves lives and keeps the virus from spreading why would you think it’s political. It’s science, folks. Plain and simple facts of how a virus spreads.

Now we’ve got idiot in chief, planning this rally tomorrow with his idiot, science deniers, all together. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Costco and Dr. Stangelove

Yay….., our Costco toilet paper order showed up yesterday. That means we’re set and won’t need to go into the store at least for a while yet. I have another home delivery of some prepper pantry stuff showing up. That includes brown sugar, regular sugar, and bakers yeast and chocolate.  I was talking with B that the last time we were in Costco was March 3. so if we can get to June 3 that’s 3months.  The home delivery, even though more expensive, has been a lifesaver. Time, gas, driving down to Roseville. So really a win-win.  I think I’m still going to do one more Instacart, but I’ll wait on that for now.

We used more of the LLS gift card at our little market yesterday and bought things to get thru the week, like hot dog rolls, burger buns, tofu, milk, and cream.

I also am expecting a farm to table meat delivery of some chicken and a small amount of beef. It’s called Crowd Cow if anyone is interested. They are 2 guys from Seattle who wanted to support small farmers.  I’ll do an update on how it is after it arrives. I kept the order small to check it out.

For anyone who drinks wine out there( we do) Darci Kent wineries have case sales going on. We have bought from them before and their wine and labels are quite lovely. I’m planning on buying the new case release( if it’s still available) of a rose, sauvignon blanc, and chardonnay.   Maybe I better go check right now.  Whew…. all good. I ordered it. Yeah, I love NOT having to go to the store to buy wine.

B has the gate ready to go up today so that will be one project down and lots more to go.

We watched Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove last night and wow, for a movie back in 1964?? it was great and so well done. Usually, I don’t really like Kubrick’s stuff but this was good and Peter Sellers was pretty phenomenal.

Friday Stuff, not Frugal

We have baby chicks. They just showed up this morning. We ordered 10 Leghorns. I wanted Bardrock but they weren’t sexted. If you get them non -sexted you will end up with some roosters. Roosters are kind of a PITA really.  Anyway, since we’ve decided to not do the camping trips at least till August, I figured we would be here at home and we might as well get chickens. I really like chickens and they are interesting birds. Plus they do keep bugs at bay and also snakes. Of course, you don’t get eggs for 4-5 months but that’s ok.

Then, let’s see, yesterday was Barclay’s IVG infusion. We got there by 10:30 and the parking lot was pretty empty and the freeways were not too bad at all. I waited in the car reading on my iPad, looking at the news, sending a few texts and trying to nap. He was done by 2 pm so long but not bad. We were home by 3 pm.

My son cooked us a nice dinner of homemade mac and cheese and roasted asparagus. It was nice not to cook. Tonight is pizza night and the dough is in the fridge doing a sow rise.

I ordered 25 lbs of flour and it should be delivered today. This is Central Milling which I usually get at Costco but they are out and I’m not going there anyway for quite a while.

I’ve had yeast in the freezer and when I went to use it it didn’t really puff up so I may have to track down some fresh yeast but in the meantime, the pizza dough was doing an ok rise.  The yeast is supposed to be good for a year in the freezer so maybe it’s just been in there a little too long.

I have spent A LOT OF MONEY on supplies. I’m just going to call this emergency food stores.  Since March 3 when I went to Winco/Costco I’ve spent over $1000 in bulk foods, pantry foods, regular store stuff and more. Most of it will last a long time as it can be used over the coming months but still, it’s a little frightening to see what I’ve spent.  Next week I will go early to our local store for milk and some fresh stuff and wine if we need it.   I did check out some of the wine delivery services but it’s more expensive than I want.  I also was checking out Instacart for delivery but so far I wasn’t that impressed.  Maybe I look at it next week. For now we at set.

 Next week starts almost a month of being home and honestly, I don’t see it changing up soon. I’m certainly not going out to just be out.  I have my labs next week and then both my dental appts are postponed and my eye exam. I haven’t canceled my oncology appt yet and that’s not till he end of April but if my labs aren’t shocking and it’s still just going up I’ll message him and say how bout next month.

Be safe and stay home!

Simple Sunday

It’s been a nice week although weird again with the holiday in the middle of the week. I kept thinking Thursday was Monday. Oh well, it seems that we’re back on course and today is Sunday.

We did a shop a Costco on Friday and didn’t overdo it. I bought extra coffee and TP so we won’t need to ‘run’ down there for those things. We are eyeing a new TV though. Ours is about 8 years old and still works but the sound quality isn’t the best. There are some sales for the super bowl so if I think we can swing it, I will.

B’s last SDI was this last week too. He did get a notice to have his doctor fill out a form about not returning to work, so I’m not sure if they would extend his benefits to use up the little he has left or if it’s just paperwork. What I read is the maximum award is 12months, so we’ll see. We’ll try and do that next week although he sees his doctor on Tuesday and I’m sure it won’t be in the mail by then.

This month will be the big test of how we do without the SDI. I know it’s going to be an adjustment. But at least we have no big bills in January just the car tags for the old van. Still, that’s $150. I have been saving quite a bit of the SDI so that I know I won’t be adding to the savings.

Also, we had to call on his Cobra as, just as expected, the Noxafil prescription came in at$1200.  This amount was the Medicare Part D prescrpiton plan that I’m not planning on using that’s why we’re paying the Cobra amount. I am not paying that much money when last month it was 0.00 co-pay.  So he called and the Cobra payment letter was just going out. So we did it online and then now we have to wait for it to get activated by the prescription plan. After that, we still don’t know what the co-pay will be since we haven’t reached any yearly deductible.  It’s all unsettled right now but next week we should know and hopefully, it’ll be resolved.

Plus we know that within a few months Noxafil will be reduced or eliminated so then we will cancel the Cobra and just use the Medicare Part D as all his other drugs are Tier 2. I think it’s only Noxafil that is Tier 5. What a Fucking scam is all I have to say.

Today is a gym day and we will go for our walk shortly.

Flylady zone is the kitchen and I’ll start that today but finish tomorrow.

I made a new recipe last night from another blogger( Teresa Kasner)

She lives along the Columbia River in an old beautiful farmhouse. Her pictures are outstanding. So the recipe was for Chicken with potatoes and spinach in a creamy parmesan sauce. It was good.

This week is Clinic for Barclay and our overnight trip. Plus whatever stress with the prescription stuff comes up.:(

I started a list of projects for the year and we’ll see how far we get.

  1. to drop the wood stove to floor level so that the footprint is lower and less of an eyesore. We built the platform specifically so we wouldn’t be bending to put wood in but it does take up a lot of floor space. This won’t cost a lot except added stove pipe( which is pricey) but we won’t need a lot. And some stone for the floor. Our woodstove is quite efficient and we will keep it for a few more years. Eventually, we will put in a gas/propane stove. But that’s maybe 5 years out still.
  2. We will be replacing windows in my daughter’s room. This will be maybe @ $1000 as it will be 2 windows replacing one large one. The Anderson windows we bought last summer are great and very energy efficient. So that ended up @ $800( I think).
  3. I’d like to also replace the bathroom window. Same size but just more energy efficient. All the windows in the house we’re replaced when we remodeled but they are now 25 years old so an upgrade will be nice.
  4. I don’t think we will get to any bathroom remodel this year.
  5. I think we are going to try and redo some of the kitchen. The biggest thing is the counters and sink( pipes underneath) really need to be redone. Getting a new pantry system from Ikea will be first on the list as that will be freestanding.

There’s always garden work and yard work. That’s kinda ongoing.

Barclay’s official retirement date is January 30. That’s 25 years. It’s hard to let go of, I think, because of the way it all happened with him getting sick. But how incredibly lucky we are for modern science that has given him a new chance without cancer. Even I can’t say that, although I have been extraordinarily lucky that my Myeloma has responded to treatment. Well, it is what it is.

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This was our dinner the other night. A small piece of filet mignon and a Beyond Meat sausage( which are delicious BTW).