Frugal Friday

All things considered, it was a frugal week. I didn’t need to go to the store at all but B went to Safeway for a few things so I had him spend over $25 to get a turkey for $7.00. I might give this to the food bank since I plan on getting a Diestal from our market. They have a coupon for $15.00 off a Diestal so I put an order in for one of the petite turkeys which are 10-12 lbs. I did this last year and it worked out great for us.

The pumpkin puree ended up at 6 Qts which I thought was pretty good. I’m going to make a pie tomorrow to test it out. I also saw a recipe in NYT cooking for a pumpkin bisque that looked good. And I want to make pumpkin chocolate chip bread. I still have the other green pumpkin to bake and will do that this week. ( I’m assuming the insides are orange):)

The chickens haven’t been laying much so B put a light in their coop and now they are producing more. This time of year I use a lot of eggs in cooking.

Our freezer is pretty packed especially after going to Costco so I’m planning on doing some freezer meals for the week. So far I have shrimp scampi with pasta, bean burritos, and something with chicken, and I need to check what soups I have frozen too. I am going to put the sauerkraut I made in the refrigerator and I probably will do a Rueben-type sandwich this week( minus the meat).

With the extra Azure order, I’ll definitely be over our $800 food budget. But that’s okay as most of the order is pantry stuff and long-term food items.

All the monthly bills are in and I just submitted my LLS for November so that’ll be $175 for covering my UHC coverage.

I swam this morning and didn’t realize the pool was just opening at 7am so it was PACKED!! Not the way I like it at all but I shared a lane with a swimmer who wasn’t splashing and kicking wildly.:)

Tonight is pizza night and it’s just the 3 of us as our son is headed up to Mt Shasta City. We have the second half of the last Vera to watch on Brit Box. This is season 11. It’s good although predicatible.

Getting ready for camping 2023

This would have been the week we were in Refugio. We canceled due to the cost of gas. ( gas is around $6.00 a gallon here but in the Santa Barbara area it’s probably higher. We both agreed that we didn’t want to add to the cc right now with the other things that are still on there. Plus, we felt we had done it last year and it was great but we didn’t really feel like we needed to go back there. Santa Barbara is always a draw for us but that’s still 30+ minutes away from Refugio so it’s not like we could just pop in. Anyway, we’re both ok with the decision.

My goal for 2023 is to go to one new place to camp and explore that area. I’d like it to be within 4-5 hours of driving.

So far for 2023, we have New Brighton booked in March and Wrights Beach in April. Both are 5 nights and that’s a nice amount of time. I think we’re going to book Napa at the end of each of these if we can get in. I’ll check that soon. My goal is to not drive more than 2-3 hours a day unless we are on an extended trip. I still have hopes that we can get to the Southwest, and then Pacific North West but with gas prices, we need to be budget-minded. I think I want to have a dedicated savings for travel and then that money will be in there for gas etc. We don’t spend a great deal generally once we’re in a location. So it’s really gas and the campground fees. We love the places we go to regularly so that’s all good. I mean Tahoe is my favorite place and where I want my ashes spread after I leave this earth.

Barclay is off to buy the concrete paint in a different color this morning down at Lowes. We decided to go with an earth tone in darker brown. Let’s hope we like it. Sort of an expensive mistake with the gallon being $50. Oh well… Then he’s going to pop into Winco for a few things. I think shopping at Winco has really helped my grocery budget. I can’t remember the last time I went into Safeway. Also, not running down to the Holiday Market for bits and bobs also is a money saver as it is definitely more expensive. I’m probably spending more at the farm but since it is produce just picked I’m ok with that. Last week I got potatoes, 2 cabbages, lettuce, spring mix, a leek and ?( I think it was some broccoli) it was $20. So pricey but ok.

I’m going to prep more apples this morning and get them ready for applesauce. I’m not sure I’ll cook them today but I’ll see how I feel when I’m done.

This time of year always is difficult for me remembering when I had the compression fracture in T 10 and didn’t know what it was or why. It was November 2003. Then later, in the fall of 2005, I was getting ready to do the SCT in February but was getting heavy duty chemo during this time. So difficult memories for me. Then Barclay’s MDS happened right about now too( early November). It’s an emotional time remembering these periods. Even when my last relapse was hitting numbers way too high, that was November of 2020 and I started chemo in January 2021. So lots of sad and difficult memories. Of course, I’m an optimist so right now things are stable. I’m doing well, Barclay is well and our kids are healthy and happy. So that’s all positive.

Friday things

With the number of annual bills that have just come in I’m not sure Frugal fits anywhere in Frugal Friday. Except for the property tax due in December or earlier, if we can manage it, they are paid. Now we just have to work on what we put on our Visa to pay them. The VW’s bill of $3000 is done and with the gas credit Gov. Newsome just sent out ( we got $700) ( a very nice windfall), that mainly went to the AAA insurance. So we’ll get there, but it will be at least another month, I think. Oh well, such is life when you live on a very limited income. It’s inch by inch row by row…Still, I’m grateful for all that we have and our continued health.

B just had his labs done and all looks great. 🙂 I go Monday for my monthly labs so we’ll see if I have another increase. It’s a guessing game.

Yesterday was my swim day and it was really nice at the pool. Not super busy. The water was really perfect. I may skip tomorrow but I’ll wait to see how I feel. We had a nice walk this morning and were watching the light because in 2 weeks or so is the end of or beginning of daylight savings and we fall back. So if we’re walking at 6 it’ll be 5 and that’s just too early. We haven’t seen AH at all in the last few weeks so that’s nice.

This morning I’m pressure-canning Homemade baked beans( minus the bacon). This recipe is from the new book I bought. This was a fairly simple recipe without lots of prep or chopping. It’s a great book with lots of meal ideas for canning. Right now I’m sticking to non-meat ones but maybe eventually I’ll add something else in.

I stopped at Winco after the pool because I needed the molasses and the Great Northern White beans for the recipe. Plus I picked up some packaged food I wanted for the freezer like Amy’s cheese enchiladas and Morningstar veggie bacon. Oh, I bought dried New Mexico Chilies because I want to try canning enchilada sauce. That’s my next pressure canning project. I checked on the All-American again and now they are ALL out of stock. So next year will be time enough for me to upgrade. My friend from the Koffee Klatch said, “oh no, I put mine in our yard sale pile when we moved”. I groaned ” oh no!!!”. Oh well C’est LaVie”.

Yesterday, I cut up our old linen sheet that had started to rip into cleaning cloths and hemmed them on my sewing machine. I plan on doing a few more today.

Tonight is a pizza night if I get the dough out of the freezer. I can always do some pasta with sauce otherwise.

Here’s a cute picture of Gus

He’s got a toy mouse on his head:)

Frugal Friday, I guess.

No, just kidding 🙂 It’s been a fairly frugal week except for our 2 year Septic pumping. This house only has a 900-gallon tank(which is now illegal but back then was acceptable.), so we need to have it pumped every 2-3 years. It was $575 so not too bad really, and we have that in our annual bills account.

But food-wise, it’s been a low-spend week. I have plenty of things in both the fridge and freezer to use. This past week I made baked herb chicken with our cherry tomato compote, veggie sausage bake, cheese toasties with avocado and tomato, and pasta with tomatoes, and mozzarella. Tonight is pizza night and I’m not sure that’s what I’m doing. It’s early yet so I have time to think about it. First thing this morning is to blanch and freeze some local corn. I haven’t seen the sales for 10 for $1.00 come up. Maybe I missed it. So this was 2 for $1.00. I got just 10. Then I have more tomatoes to process but I may wait and do that tomorrow.

Barclay was supposed to get his port out this morning ( a milestone after 3 1/2 years) but he got a rash ( we think from his Shingrex shot) and the doctor said he should wait for it to be gone. He’s going to call his team nurse this morning to check on it.

We went out for a coffee at the local cafe and had iced americanos. That was $10 with a scone and came out of his personal money. Since we are doing cash envelopes again, he’s getting $100 a month for fun money. That’s working out very well. Also, he’s in charge of the cash envelopes for chicken food, and home depot. I’m still working out how much those should be REALISTICALLY. A budget only works if it fits what you need to spend and have the $ to fund the line item. So far, I have Tractor Supply at $50, and Home Depot stuff at $200.

We are going to have to take my VW to the shop as the coolant is still leaking. Hopefully, it won’t be too much. I don’t really keep a car repair fund so I guess I better start that.

I just finished the corn and got 3 small baggies of shucked corn. So maybe 20 more ears of corn.

Frugal Friday

So far, it’s been a frugal week as we haven’t done much. I went into Whole Foods (spent $45.00)yesterday because I thought I could get some Nicoise olives for my Nicoise salad recipe from my Le Creuset cookbook. Alas, the young lady didn’t even know what I was talking about and said she hasn’t ever seen them there. Except I have bought them there before, granted it was probably 2 years ago. So I bought some tiny olives that look similar to Nicoise and they were actually delicious. The salad called for fingerling potatoes and they didn’t have those either so I was batting 0 out of 2. When I came home I boiled some eggs for hardboiled eggs for the salad too. I had bought a piece of Ahi tuna from Trader Joe’s last time I was there so I put that in a bowl of water to defrost. Then my daughter grilled that on the Webber. All in all, it came out quite well.

The reason I was going down to Roseville is my library hold came in. It’s the Maus graphic novel that schools in the south and basically all Republican states want to ban. So I picked that up and a few other books to read. I’m up to 65 books for the year and with the 6 I picked up I’ll be over 70. Not that numbers count as I just always have read a lot.

I also wanted to check out the gym that is next to the library that I can use with my swim membership. So, a year and 3 months later I decided to go in and see the layout. Now with Covid, I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway but now I feel fairly comfortable going in. It was really great and I like that it seemed simple and had the machines I like to use. I did a quick circuit and felt that I will add this in to my weekly workouts.

Other than WF, I don’t think we spent any money. Today I going to the farmstand, that just opened for the season, and get some things for the week. I have cash for that. The only extra expense we have this month is the truck DMV, which I mentioned before. I haven’t paid it yet and will do so towards the end of the month. Other than that everything is covered. There’s not much leftover but that’s ok.

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.

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.

Looking back at 2021

For us, 2021 was a really great year in spite of Covid. For lots of people, it was horrible but we managed to accomplish some very BIG Goals. # 1 was buying Rubi( the RV), which was exactly what we wanted), then Chevy, after realizing the Santa Fe was just not going to cut it with towing, and then going on camping trips especially the new addition of Refugio State Beach.

I started chemo in January, 3 weeks on 1 week off until June. My numbers went back into the normal range almost immediately after just the first treatment but you still need to do the full course of 6 rounds. I’ve had a great 6 months but my numbers are now slightly out of high normal so it’s a matter of how quickly they will increase. I’m waiting now for this week’s labs, so we’ll see. My guess is I’ll be back on Velcade in June. Amazingly, last time ( 2016) I had 4 1/2 years of remission. Not this time and it’s questionable how long Velcade will work before it’s on to the next treatment option. Well, that’s not today so…

I m swimming in March and I continue to love it. I wish I could get more than the 2-3 times a week in but it’s just too far and too much gas to do more than that. But it is incredible.

We did quite a few projects around the house and yard including the privacy fence along the driveway. We replaced the sunroom windows that were water damaged and will do the other 2 this summer. We redid the whole laundry room. It still needs some siding up around the window and I’ll bug my son to finish that when the weather is nicer. Let’s see, what else… I painted the bathroom, and ??? I’m sure there are more things…

Today is New Year’s Eve. We’re going to have the fondue we didn’t use for Christmas and I think to watch the new Witcher series. We had a lovely walk this morning and still no dog walker. That’s very odd, so we think either he got covid or moved?? We never knew his name so can’t check it out. But really it is wonderful to not have him stomping by or trying to run us off the path. Still, he is a dark walker( early morning) so there’s that connection. Not many people do that.

I plan to go to Target tomorrow as I need my calendars for 2022. I like their very simple inexpensive ones. Not sure they’ll have any left but I’ll try there first. I do plan a no-spend January but that’s just extra stuff that I don’t need( like candles). My January budget is set including the increase of our Part D Medicare plans.

I lost count of how many books I read , maybe 75? 100? I read a lot so I don’t think it really matters how many. Sometimes I read 3 books a week. It all depends on the type of book. Maybe I’ll keep count next year except I have tried that and then give up because it starts to be too many.

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.

Frugal Friday, I suppose.

We are back from our Rv adventures. Paso Robles turned out great. At first, I thought, well, it’s all big Rv’s and maybe we won’t stay the second day, but we really needed the day to just decompress. We had a great spot on the end with only an RV on our left. So that was a big factor. We really like space around us so that spot made a big difference. We will go back next year if everything works out. Refugio SB was only a 2-hour drive. So that was good. The only crazy thing was going into the grocery store( Albertson’s). It was a madhouse and really stressed us out. But we got what we needed. I especially wanted some local wine from Paso Robles and they did have a whole aisle of just Paso Robles wine so that was cool.

The next day we hooked up and left for the drive home. We were concerned that it would be too long but we came under 5 hours. Without trailering it probably would have been just under 4. We stopped 3 times to stretch. I-5 is great for rest stops. All major interstates should have them. We had snacks and peanut butter sandwiches. Well, I sat on mine so I just nibbled at it.

Getting home was fine and we navigated past the tree that needs to be taken down for us to have easier access in and out. Going in is much easier than going out. Next year we’ll figure that out.

Budget-wise, traveling is expensive. Not the SB or even the RV resort, but GAS was pretty outrageous. We never eat out so that saves money. But for next year I will add to my extra savings for gas.

All I have left of with annual bills is our property tax and I’ll pay that next week. Then we get a good size break from annual bills till March/April.

Thanksgiving was low-key. I actually used the Diestal Turkey I bought last year on sale. My son brined it and cooked it. I did the sides.

No Black Friday sales for us. Tomorrow I plan on swimming and maybe putting up the small Ikea tree I bought. We’re not doing any ornaments, just some small lights. Hanukkah is Sunday evening so I plan to put out a few little decorations. One is a blue glass ornament my son actually did in, I think, 6th grade at a local glass blowers studio.