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.

Five on Friday( ok, it might be more)!!

What a week it has been, but I think with Arizona now going for Biden officially, it’s a done deal.

Trump and his narcissistic personality just can’t admit defeat. Sad, really. Like a kid who just can’t/won’t grow up.

And how his loyal believers even think what they think is beyond me. Honestly, I think they are missing some DNA strand the rest of us have that filters humility, honesty, civility and on and on.

Well, on to this week. Today it’s supposed to rain and right now it’s cloudy but the temperature is nice, mid forties. Earlier things week we were at 32 degrees and it was freezing and walking was tough. The path had some ice and was tricky to navigate. We haven’t seen ‘the jerk’ so either he’s very early or on vacation. Either way, it’s lovely to walk with his frantic weird energy. As a matter of fact, there are 2 other couples that walk and they are so pleasant and nice with a “good morning” or “hello”.

I picked a small order from Walmart yesterday. Mostly we needed the small Coleman propane bottles for our “Buddy” heater which we use when we sit out on the sun porch and it’s cold. Walmart has the best prices with a 4 pack at $13.57. I picked a few groceries but not much.

I also went into Target for Christmas lights but they didn’t have the Target brand out yet, so the next day I did a pickup for them as it showed on the website. I did pick up some blue lights that we use throughout the winter on the outside by the front door. Right now the orange/fall ones are still up but I’ll have B take them done this coming week. I’ve moved most of the pumpkins away from the 2 doors and have put the small Christmas type trees by one.

I’m thinking of doing a bay laurel wreath for the front door as we have a nice big tree in the front yard that we planted when we first moved here so it is 25 years old. I will add a red ribbon.

The bread making frenzy continues and the loaves and my starter is doing great. Again, it’s truly the Tartine recipe that does the best bread.

Each recipe does make 2 loaves, so I just cut the second one and freeze the slices. Speaking of which, I knicked my finger cutting the top of the loaf the other day. Not a bad cut but the top of the loaves are very crunchy and so I bought these gloves so it wouldn’t happen again. so far they work great.

I dropped off a Goodwill load this week. No waiting this time. I guess the great purge of 2020 is over for now. They even brought a cart for you to put your stuff in. Before you had to take everything out of your bags and separate it. It was kinda a pain.

I also decided to take the TV in my office space off the wall and get rid of the DVD player there too. I bought( at Target) a quite compact Sony DVD blu ray for the DVD’s I want to keep. ( Shirley Valentine,I see you).

One of my absolutely favorite YouTubers is a young woman in New Zealand ,who is the most sincere person I’ve seen on YT yet. She is the ultimate minimalist and quite inspiring. Minimom really walks her talk and does not put out regurgitated stuff like some YT’s like Life at Home Taoist style who doesn’t even really know what a Taoist is.

Even though she(Minimom) is only in her 30’s with 2 small children she really puts it out there without the other crap. So it took her saying her house/condo was too small for 2 TVs and the light bulb went on for me. I don’t need that 2nd TV when I walk 20 feet into the front room and watch a DVD. We did need the new player though as this TV is newer than the old one and wouldn’t hook to old DVD player.

Anyway, if you are into minimalism and watch youtube, go to her channel.

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.

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.

Simple Sunday or back to my regular programming:)

Honestly, I am still on a rant about the SCOTUS shit. Mitch McConnell should go crawl in to a hole in hell and stay there.

Well, this was a pretty good week overall. The smoke is filtering back in but it’s not like it was so hopefully it’ll clear out soon.

Mornings have been cool walking but still nice. We still have the 2 others that are weird and annoying showing up right after us. I really wouldn’t mind if he wasn’t such a jerk. Doesn’t use a flashlight when it’s dark out, just barrells by without so much as a ” coming up on your left”and really sets the energy off in the park. The other lady is just plain weird and I can’t read her MO, which for me a counselor who made a living ‘reading’ other people, is unusual. I’m hoping she falls away with daylight savings in October but I’m pretty sure he will not especially since he does walk the dog or I should say drags his dog along.

Budget wise, September has been pretty good. I haven’t tallied up the food but I think it’s in the $600 range so that’s ok. I am planning Costco next week before the sales end. It’s been about every 4 weeks were going which is about on target. Prepper wise, I think we are set. When I get the upright freezer, then I can concentrate on filling that with stuff. It has been a trial and error with stocking up. All the non food stuff is great. Some prepper stuff I bought I’m not too sure how we will use it like the whole powdered milk. I suppose if you couldn’t get to the store at all powdered milk would work. It wasn’t expensive so I don’t mind if it ends up in the food bank stuff next year.

I did pay our Allstate bill ( every 6 months). My son needs to pay me his part but he can do that next month. Then our house insurance is coming due as well. Fall brings annual bills including property tax. Right now we can pay all that with our savings( EF is where I keep it) but who know 10 years from now. But that’s the future and I want to BE HERE NOW!! well, to a certain extent I do need to plan.

Here’s the floor finished. Even though it is beautiful light color now. Pine floors will darken with age.

Here’s our Philly cheesesteak sammies we had Friday night. The top one is just roasted peppers and cheese for the veg man.

This is the only picture I kept of my brother’s. He was quite talented. My sister has the really nice one that I wanted of a sailboat. I gave my younger brother 3 others(water colors) that I didn’t really want/or had a place for.

If you’re following, it’s the bedroom zone this week.

Also, B has a birthday this week. Another year around the sun!!

And “May you be inscribed in the book of Life for another year”

L’Shanah Tovah!!!

The week ahead

This week is fairly open but there are a few things that need doing.

* I need to go to UPS and drop off a damaged book I received from Amazon.

*Then I need to go to USPS and mail a gift off to my sister in Conn.

* I’m planning on getting my Flu shot also this week. Not sure what day but when the mood strikes.

  • Still not figuring out how to keep the font while another tool is being used.??? Well, my tech savvy daughter said there doesn’t appear to have functionality for that meaning using lists and enlarging fonts. I may just email them and ask about it.
  • B will go to Home Depot and get the wood and contractors glue stuff. I probably won’t go but he can do it after his labs or some.thing.
  • The heat is supposed to abate by Wednesday. Let’s hope so. I really miss seeing blue skies:(

So, I changed the font on this and is way too big. go figure.

Tonight I making another Cobb salad because it’s so hot outside. I already made the chicken and bacon in the oven this morning so I just need to make a dressing.

Simple Sunday

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Here are the two barrels with bamboo. The window above is our tiny bathroom.  The bedroom window is to the right and that’s where we thought he 3rd barrel would look nice.

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Here’s the updated closet. It probably doesn’t look much different but it is very bright and sparkly.  We added some new hooks for my clothes, as I tend to hang my walking/workout pants and jacket there.

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This is the clothes side. Mine is on the bottom. As you can see, I don’t own a lot of clothes.

I’m thinking of adding a barn door ( one that slides) instead of the curtain. I need to check out how much the hardware is but I don’t think it’s a lot.

This morning I made another batch of tomato sauce from garden tomatoes. I think I’ll get about 2 Talenti size containers. I will freeze these. We are getting a lot of Roma tomatoes and orange cherry tomatoes. Not too many slicing ones yet.

I’m experimenting with making pie crust to this morning. It seemed to come together very nicely so fingers crossed. It’s in the fridge for a few hours minimum.

I was going to start the kitchen zone but decided to wait till tomorrow since I was making a mess with tomatoes and flour. So tomorrow will be the kitchen zone and a general tidy up.

My two, lost in USPS space,books finally arrived. the one is the vegetarian one I wanted from The Ananda community. Ananda was started in 1967 in North San Juan which is about an hour from here. It was really at its height in the 1970s. We went multiple times for different reasons. Meditation and I seem to remember a wedding.  Then at some point in the late 1980s, Kriyananda, the founder( AKA Donald Walters) got in some serious tax problems and I believe sex scandals and fled to Italy.  Anyway, it is a beautiful piece of property. It’s probably over 600 acres about and still continues to this day offering retreats.

This week is hot again so that’s kinda unfortunate. The few days we had in the 80s were great.

Next week is quiet with no appointments so maybe we’ll plan a drive out somewhere. Everywhere here in the Sierra Nevada foothills and Tahoe areas are just inundated with people from the valley and the Bay area. Any thought of a solitary hike is out of the question.  I’m not even sure how camping will go next year as everyone has decide to buy campers, RV’s and whatever and flood the campgrounds. I guess a lot depends on when we get the vaccine.

I am reading an outstanding book that I bought on Amazon.

‘White too long’, by Robert Jones.  It is an amazing book about White Supremecy in White Christianity.  I’m an atheist, but I have a lot of respect for this author and what he is writing.

If you’re so inclined, I’d recommend buying it even if it is too support his thesis monetarily.

 

 

Friday Stuff

There’s not much going on over here at Casa Neumann’s.  Same ol’ same ol’.

This morning I’m going into Safeway to get a few items that are needed but other than that just the regular stuff. Most of my house chores are done for the week except a tidy up here and there.

I have pizza dough made ( on Wednesday) so I just need to bring it out of the fridge and let rise at room temperature.

I was looking at upright freezers for the ol’ prepper pantry but geez everything is sold out.  If I order a small one 14 ft it says delivery is in October, so maybe?? Do any of you use both a small chest freezer( that’s what I have now) and an upright?? What do you stock up on. I know I could put my extra flour and rice in there and that would extend shelf life. Plus milk freezes well and cheese. Let me know what you do. Other people’s setups are helpful to know.

 

OMG, we had a bear go thru the yard last night.  Arlo recorded it around 3:30 am. We have a mountain lion that’s been hanging around but we’ve never seen a bear. They are here because people have lost their chickens to bears but we’ve never seen one. Very Wild things going on.

 

Makin’ it Monday

I just passed 1252 posts on my blog.

Of course, I’ve had my blog since 2012 when the great decluttering era started and my journey with minimalism. Right now, it seems minimalism is taking a back seat because my houseplants are taking over. Seriously, I think I need to give some away. Plus with Covid-19 the pantry has exploded into the prepper pantry.  It’s all good though, everything changes. I’m certainly not filling up white space with stuff.

My Flylady routine hasn’t changed all that much since 2012 but some. When I first started with FL, I did all her recommendations. Then as they got done, I wrote out my list of things for each zone and that’s what I use today. Some people find FL too involved or restrictive, but I think the form is valuable if you own it for your own circumstances. If you are drowning in clutter and not getting the house in order, start with the kitchen sink as she recommends.  Keeping the kitchen sink clean and clutter-free of dishes really sets the tone for the whole house as odd as that sounds.

Our very hot weather continues and so does the constant watering the yard. We are getting some cherry tomatoes and cucumbers and zucchini which is nice. As a matter of fact, I’m planning on making a zucchini bread this morning.

Last night I made the individual quiches and they were good. I used the  Breville toaster oven and it kept the kitchen cooler than using the oven. I think they could have been cooked a little less.

Today is my basic Monday chores which are dusting, vacuuming, mop kitchen floor, and a general tidy up.

We had the logger guy come and pick up the huge logs on Saturday. What a relief they are gone. He charged $150 which was completely worth it to get them out of the back area. Barclay could have never cut them up.

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Simple Sunday

BOYCOTT GOYA FOOD PRODUCTS!

( just a reminder)….

We stocked up the prepper pantry this week with

  • 25 lbs of black beans. they’re not organic but grown in Washington state so I felt ok about it.
  • canned goods
  • coffee( 2 bags of Starbucks French Roast on sale at Costco)
  • Bob’s steel cut oats
  • TP
  • paper towels ( Costco’s giant package gets us through most of the year) We try not to use a lot of paper towels but sometimes you just have to.
  • Dove soap( 16 bars)
  • ramen soup( my favorite breakfast)
  • lots of single item things from Winco like Asian seasoning stuff, and olives
  • four more boxes of pasta
  • Another 10 bag of Calrose rice

The barn pantry looks really good and as soon as I get the Ikea pantry the other stainless steel shelves will go out there too.

Not much on the schedule this week, so that’s nice. With the weather being so hot, I don’t like having to go out much.

I went to Goodwill yesterday and Whoaaaaa… I got there at 9:45am. Dropoffs start at 10am. there were probably 25 cars already in line. By the time it started, I had probably 30 cars behind me. I guess it’s the season.

My order from Ikea ( from 2 months ago) showed up. So it’s another bamboo plant stand. And another small cabinet. I have this cabinet in our entryway and my plan was to put this one next to it. But then since we put the small TV in my office area, I decided I will put it under the TV and put ALL the DVDs in it. If they don’t fit some will have to go. So a little more organization.

I’ve been taking some pictures of the different rooms again and looking at the spaces. In my office area, the brown rug ( once I took the picture) looked really awful with the grey Ikea couch. So that was pulled out and I’ll have to see if I want a grey rug to replace or just leave the wood floor. Some of the pine boards need replacing so another project.

This week on the menu will be

  • individual Lodge quiches, a mushroom /cheese, spinach/ cheese)
  • Yakisoba with crispy tofu
  • burrito bowls with pintos, avocado, tomato salsa, cheese and tortillas
  • maybe something with beef like in a Japanese recipe from Just One Cookbook
  • spinach crepes with a bechamel sauce( maybe) depends how ambitious I feel!

BTW, I am loving the Zojirushi rice maker I got. It is fantastic ( thanks Laura from The Occasional Nomads who always has great suggestions and has lovely Japanese things in her home on Kaua’i.

My head is spinning with the political crap going on. With Trump getting Stone off the hook and out of his scheduled sentence, I just want to throw up. The corruption is so blatant it’s mind-boggling. Then he and Devos ( who is also evil incarnate) just wants the kids to go to school 5 days a week. Ok, you send YOUR kid or you go and spend a week in a classroom with 30 kids and tell me it’s safe. Yeah, right.

In other boring news, the Flylady zone is the bathroom. Not exciting but hey it still needs to get done.