Friday things

I just got back from swimming and the pool was busy when I got there and then emptied out by 8am. Maybe I’ll consider going at this time. It could be that all the people that work have left. It’s definitely busier at 7am. Traffic was very heavy heading to Tahoe( East bound) but I just went slower than the crazy Bay area people in their Audis ,Teslas, and Lexus’.

I have a few chores to do this morning but nothing too major. I started doing our taxes and got them mostly done. I just need the interest from the mortgage statement so I’ll print that out this weekend. We use the standard deduction so it doesn’t really matter but it asks for it so I’ll do that. Our taxes are pretty simple so it didn’t take long. It looks like we will owe a very small amount!

Tonight we plan on ordering a pizza so that’ll be nice( expensive but nice). It’s nice to take a break from cooking.

Yesterday my son took the day off from work and we went over to Folsom to the outlet stores. Well, it was just the Levi store. I only wear Levi’s and wanted a new high rise pair. I was actually trying to get the original 501s but I would have needed to get a men’s size in order to fit and the clerk said probably they wouldn’t fit right so I got a different pair that still had buttons in the front. We’ll see how I like them. I do have trouble finding jeans that fit right and that’s how I ended up with Levis. I did order a pair of Old Navy jeans that were on sale but I’m not sure I’ll keep them after they get here( next week).

I started reading ‘ Still Life’ and couldn’t get into it. I guess some people really love it but I didn’t like the narrative, plus it was written in a weird way. Oh well, I have a bunch of books on hold at the library but nothing has come in yet.

Wednesday’s musings

Well, a disappointment with my labs. Kappa went up to 30.7 mg/L so a 3-point jump. And the ratio went up to 1.96mg/L from 1.76 so also a jump. I’m disappointed but such as it is.

The pool was busy but I did get a lane right away. It’s sort of hit-and-miss most mornings. But it’s still worth the effort. I went to the gym yesterday, which was pretty empty although I saw some new faces. Probably new years resolutions kicking in.

Today I’ve been playing around with a spreadsheet I downloaded for the budget. It’s taken me 6 different tries but I think I have it down and I like it as long as it works the way it’s supposed to. I bought it off Etsy on the recommendation of Minimom on Youtube. I do most of my budgeting in a notebook but I wanted to add something new.

After the pool, I went over to Winco for a few groceries. Honestly, you cannot beat the price of things there. It’s a bit of a learning curve because of the layout but I know it well now so I can just go to the areas of food I need. Their bulk area is amazing. Lots of bins of snacks, spices, grains, everything you could want bulk, even honey.

Today I need to vacuum and dust and then fall into a heap depressed about my light chains. It’ll take me a day to regroup.

Frugal Friday

We’re finally getting sunny days. It’s still very cold(32′) this morning but at least there’s sun!!

It’s been a good week. Barclay had his port out and that all went well. It was almost 4years to the date he had it put in. Lots of blood transfusions.Whew, what a story that was. But he’s 100% better and has no lingering GVH issues.

I had my annual Well care check with my PCP. It was fine although maybe a slight waste of time as I didn’t have anything to discuss and he didn’t have a lot to say. Oh well, it’s fine. I did say I still had some pressure in my left ear and he just said to go see the ENT doctor. Er, okay then.

After that appt, I went down to the Roseville gym and then the library. I also swam on Wednesday and it was busy but I did get a lane. Near the end of my swim, some guy came and shared the lane.

This morning I’m making some sauerkraut and doing a general tidy-up. I’m making a pizza for dinner and need to defrost the dough. Last night I made my first ever meatloaf and it came out really good. I did follow a recipe and I suppose that does help. I decided to make this since I had a lb of local pork sausage I had bought at the farmers market this past summer and as part of the pantry challenge wanted to use it up. I also had some organic ground beef to use up too. I topped it with my canned BBQ sauce and it was excellent. The pantry challenge is going splendidly and I may continue into February. There are 11 more days in January so I’ll decide then. I do plan on doing an Azure order in February so that will be some pantry restocking.

I got the new Marie Kondo book from the library. What a waste. It’s mostly repeat stuff but there’s so many photos of her. It seems the book is really about how many photos can she have taken of herself.

And here’s a shot of the sauerkraut wilting and about ready to go into a jar with the fermenting lid on.

This was one head of cabbage. It does shrink down.

I haven’t spent a lot on groceries this week except $80 at Trader Joes. Since I was going in for a few things I added some extras like pita bread for falafels, OJ, micro greens, and some other random stuff.

I also tackled washing the couch covers and saw that one corner at the bottom was ripping so I will need to get a new cover eventually. I’mgoing to pull some embroidery thread out and sew it for now. I think these white covers are over 5 years old probably more. I’m not ready to buy a new couch so a new cover will be fine. Next time I go to Ikea I’ll check it out.

Friday Things

We’re back in the rain today and all weekend:( I know we need all we can get but geez, it gets kind of old. Anyway, I didn’t go out this morning so I could do a few house things.

I made up a batch of hummus from the garbanzos I cooked the other day. I planned the next week’s menu using the pantry challenge. Tonight I will use the one frozen pizza I have in the freezer. I’ll make a salad on the side. I tidied up my office space and did a swish and swipe in the bathroom. I planned to vacuum but all the kitties are sleeping!

I had a nice swim yesterday and the pool was not super busy. I usually swim Saturdays but with the next wave of the storm is tomorrow and it’s forecast to be heavier rain and some wind.

Our UHC medicare supplemental has a gym membership with Anytime Fitness for free so I signed up for that. B is already signed up and is going 2-3 x a week. I plan on using the gym for the treadmill and weights when I don’t want to drive down the hill. Plus it’s free!

We went to Costco on Wednesday and it was not too busy at all. We usually try and get there right at 9 but this time we were there at 10 and it was great. Plus we didn’t need a whole lot. I was primarily going to get the 4 pack of Nasocort I use to help clear my sinus cavity. This was something the doctor said to try and it does help. We bought about $100 in just groceries. I’ll add that amount to the food budget but the non food I’ll keep out of the low spend challenge. Things like AA batteries, allergy stuff are just maintenance stuff and need to be bought regardless of low spend month.

My favorite youtube, Minimom had a good budget video the other day. She had bought a download from Etsy that is compatible with Google Docs. I checked it out and I’m curious but I tend to like my budget on paper. It’s on sale today so I guess I’ll need to decide.

That’s it for now, hopefully, the rain will ease up. It’s hard not to go stir crazy.

Simple Sunday

We lost power for about an hour last night but I’m surprised it wasn’t more. It’s still raining so we decided not to walk this morning. I actually like walking in the rain as long as the wind isn’t blowing and today it is still windy. It looks like we’re in for rain all week. There have been many trees down so I hope ours can hold on. Even along I -80 I saw some pines that had fallen over.

I did go swimming yesterday and got a lane fairly quickly but by the time I was done lots of ‘new ‘ faces were showing up and the high school team again. I imagine it’ll slow down after a while with NY resolutions fading away.

Then I popped into Winco for salad stuff and other veggies. I didn’t buy a lot of anything else as I’m doing the pantry challenge which is to use up what I have. So far it is going splendidly. Last night we had some salmon I had in the freezer so that’s used up and we had a salad with it. I also used my last acorn squash from the farm stand I bought this fall. So overall I’m pleased with the challenge. This week I plan on using 2 pressure-canned soups, and some enchiladas from the freezer, and then see what else needs to be used up.

I just finished reading an excellent book called ” The Longing for Less” by Kyle Chayka. It is quite the essay on minimalism. I’d highly recommend it. I’m not planning on writing down the books I read this year as last year once I hit 150, I didn’t bother anymore.

Today, I plan on doing the Kitchen zone and then read some more. This week is a mellow week, with no appts. Depending on the weather though, I’ll go down to Roseville to swim and to the Rec center at least 1x.

Friday things

Another nice walk without being too cold. Sunrise is 7:20 am and was the same yesterday.

Today is just a pottering day and tidying things up. I’m not sure why things look more ‘untogether’ around Christmas. Maybe it’s the Christmas tree and the few decorations I have around although I even put a few away as I felt it was too much visually. Maybe it’s being stuck inside a lot with the rain and cold.

We’ve had fun with the ‘ugliest’ tree ornament game again. So far the pink sparkly dinosaur is winning but it’s a close runner-up with pineapple face. <>!!!!

I’m debating going to the pool tomorrow. I want to go but I’m not sure about the traffic on Christmas eve day. I guess I’ll wake up and see how I feel. I need to check the hours too as I think I saw something about that on the way out the other day but didn’t pay attention to it.

Tonight we’re ordering a pizza so I won’t have to cook. That’ll be nice.

My January budget will go from Dec.26 to January 25 approx. I do think the cash envelopes are helping with some things like Home Depot, bird/chicken food, groceries ( to some degree), and, misc. For now, I’m going to keep doing it. January will be a low spend month with no extras. I plan on holding off on Costco till we need coffee. The biggest change is going to be saving from SS the extra increase so we can use that for annual bills. Plus whatever other money we can put towards that fund from anything else.

Happy Hanukkah

We are atheists and I’m sure some people would be puzzled as to why we like to celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. I think with Hanukkah, it is the meaning of the festival of lights and the beauty of the candles in a menorah. I think religious holidays can be secular if you enjoy the festivities and food etc but not the religious stuff.

Even though we are not Jewish, I really enjoy the beauty of the Festival of Lights. We’ll be lighting our candles tonight for the first night and exchange some little gifts. I always make latkes and we have homemade applesauce too. By the same token, as non-Christians, I still love the spirit of Christmas things, the tree, the lights, and the little decorations. So I do enjoy both without the religious attachment. Strange? maybe!!!

This morning started out with a walk and it was magical with the frosty fields and even frost on the Canada Geese’s back. Then back home to assemble the Christmas lasagna. I did two pans and they are now tucked into the freezer. Then my daughter peeled the potatoes for the latkes and they are hanging out in some water till it’s time to shred them. I plan on doing a spinach quiche too with some gruyere cheese.

This week I plan to swim and also go to the rec center. Hey, B checked with UHC and we can get a free gym membership at a local gym with just the cost of buying the key fob( it’s for the door when no one is there). So he’s going tomorrow to sign up and then I’m going to do it too. Since it’s free with our UHC health care we can take advantage of this. Then I can go when it’s too much to go down to Roseville. That’s exciting news at least.

I was reading an article about the 90/90 rule for decluttering. There are lots of these little hacks to help with decluttering but this one caught my attention. So if you’re looking to declutter things ask yourself:

” Have you used this in the last 90 days? And will you use it in the next 90 days”. it’s a great way to look at why we hold on to things. Exceptions are probably seasonal decor and such. I started going thru each room again with this in mind. I still feel the need to ‘par down to the essentials but keep the poetry”.

Frugal Friday

We are in for another big storm later today and thru the weekend. I’m not going down to the pool or the gym since the rain is supposed to be heavy and with wind. Not my favorite combination. 😦 I figure I need to just accept I’ll swim when I can and if something comes up where I can’t go, just relax with it. I am already though thinking of how to swim and get my Velcade shot when the time comes. Lap swimming is only till 9:25am. so If I go later @ 8am I can swim and then go to infusion by 9:30 or so. I’m a planner so I need a plan in place or at least a tentative one.

Today is just a potter around the house day. I want to get some Hanukkah candles out and put out the dark blue star cloth I use every year. I don’t plan to do gift things every night for the first few nights. I plan on making some banana choc chip bread too.

Costco went well and it was busy but we found our way around and were out in 30 minutes. We kept it fairly tight without throwing lots of extra stuff in the cart and we came out at just over $300 so I was very happy about that. We bought 2 bags of coffee so that should get us thru till mid-January.

As far as Christmas shopping, I have a few more GCs to get. One for the garbage guy who works incredibly hard in rain, snow, etc, and one for each of the kids. I’m really terrible about thinking of gifts for them when they get whatever they want. I guess with a gift card they can just get something they want.

Gas prices are dropping and that’s very exciting. We got gas at Costco for $3.99 so wow, what a difference.

Here’s the recipe for the banana bread I’m using. It’s from a cookbook I got from the library.

The cookbook is “Bake” by Paul Hollywood.

Simple Sunday, Rainy Sunday

We are getting lots of rain and we need it here in California. There’s a lot of snow in the mountains, which will help the snowpack for spring melt off.

I had a good swim yesterday and the pool was busy but I had a lane to myself for most of my swim and then shared a lane at the end( which is about 45 minutes). Saturdays are hit-and-miss. Sometimes it’s super busy and then sometimes mostly empty. Traffic was light too which was surprising since I thought more snowboarders and skiers would be heading up to Tahoe.

Then when I came home I started the chicken pot pie pressure canned filling. The chicken wasn’t really up to my standards but I thought I was being frugal buying the Safeway deal. I think I’ll skip that next time. It just wasn’t that great. I haven’t tasted the final product but hopefully, it’s ok. But I couldn’t get my pressure canner to not leak (drips) from under the rim and then it wouldn’t come up to pressure. I had to restart 3Xs. Finally, I googled it and someone said to use vegetable oil on the gasket on both sides. That finally did it and the pressure was fine at 15 lbs. It’s quite a learning curve doing this pressure canning. So then this morning I’m pressure-canning organic kidney beans that I got from Azure. I ended up with 7-pint jars. These will be great for soups like minestrone. I did see that All American has the pressure canner that I want back in stock but at $400, I need to wait till January. I just paid the property taxes so we need to regroup from that.

This week it’s the kitchen zone in Flylady and I’ll do that tomorrow or Tuesday. This is a mellow week for me with no appts. I think we’re going to do Costco and get that done well before Christmas. I plan to go to the gym at least once. I wish I could get there more but the cost of gas is an issue with it adding to the cost of the membership.

As usual, Christmas will be minimal with just a few gifts each. We don’t really exchange any gifts with other family members except Heid’s husband which I sent a Point Reyes Cheese selection. Heidi loved charcuterie so I think Richard will like this sampling. Point Reyes cheese is a women-owned cooperative. I’m sure Christmas is going to be difficult for him.

I looked up reservations for Nevada Beach and it looks like this week I’ll try for a spot in early June. Fingers crossed!

I’m about halfway thru reading Gone with the Wind. It’s over 1000 pages. It is so interesting her depiction of the South and life there. It seems it’s very much like looking thru rose-colored glasses that the ‘darkies’ as she calls them, were really people enslaved and owned by other human beings. It’s kind of weird to read it now from a different perspective. So then we watched the first half of the movie last night. It is an amazing cinematography feat especially when Atlanta is burning. I think we’ll watch the other half tonight which picks up after Scarlett is back at Tara.

Simple Sunday

I received the email that our Azure order is to be picked up today. I’m pretty excited to see how it goes. I’m not sure how many people will be there but I imagine quite a few. B is quite excited as this is like the old Mountain Peoples Warehouse days when we would go to the warehouse and pick up bulk orders. Of course, that was 1978!

Our walk was lovely again this morning with lots of pink gold and yellows and reds around. The park was frosty and even the trees had frost. Tomorrow I will not walk as I have to go get my labs and then Tuesday I’ll swim. It’ll be a short week for going to the gym or the pool but that’s ok, it is what it is.

I’m planning out the menu for Thanksgiving and when to defrost what. I think I’ll take out the petite Diestal turkey today and put it in the barn fridge and then take out the nut loaf muffins on Wednesday to defrost.

They popped out pretty easily but next time if I do it this way, I’ll use a small square of parchment paper.

This is the recipe I have used for years. I don’t always add green peppers and I don’t use cashews just walnuts and sometimes pecans.

I’ll prep everything on Wednesday and then just have the dishes in the fridge or the ingredients chopped. I have mashed potatoes in the freezer but I may make another batch for Thanksgiving and leave those in there for another meal. I plan on doing a few yams since I’m the only one that likes them. I just use store-bought rolls. I haven’t decided on the vegetable sides but probably have green beans and maybe some corn from this summer.

Here’s the crepe-making from the other day.

The sauce is a bechamel with gruyere. They were delicious. If you’re making crepes you need that little tool you see in the picture as it moves the batter into a circle. That’s the thing about cooking. Having the right tool makes it work. I made a stir fry the other day from NYT recipes ( check it out) called Everything Stir fry, which basically was leftovers in the fridge. It was delicious but I realized maybe I want a carbon steel wok. I checked Amazon and found one for $60 so I’ll think about it for a while. My large cast iron works fine but again a wok is a specific tool used for a specific type of cooking.

If I don’t blog this week, Have a Happy Thanksgiving. We always have so much to be thankful for and just being here is a gift.