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November 6th-Saturday

November 6th, 2010 at 08:31 am

I have had my ups and downs over the last week. My new osteopathic doctor (who diagnosed me) agreed to disability for 3 months. So my income will be going up since I have only been on 3 hours a day worker's comp disability. I am saving every penny of the additional income towards 2011 Roth IRA.

I signed up for Safeway's new program. I have been pretty lax about finances this last month, after meeting our savings goal for the year. I am trying to get back on track.

However, I have been teaching YD to sew and we are opening an Etsy store with all that beautiful fabric. I keep saying we cannot buy anymore fabric until we actually sell something. If we don't sell anything, I have lots of little girls I can give cute peasant dresses to. YD made a new style yesterday that granddaughter wore yesterday. We don't have a picture of it yet, but it was similar style with a tie in the back.

Here is a sample:

My pain comes and goes. I am going to start pain tracking to see if I can relate food or activities that make it better or worse.

I have also started on homeopathic treatment of rhus (which is poison ivy, weird I know).

My pain pill has kicked in, so off to stretch and walk on the treadmill (I hate to admit it, but I think exercise is helpinig!)

Oh and one more thing, I made pumpkin scones last weekend that were yummy. Here is the link if anyone wants to try them:

Happy weekend everyone!

Yesterday was a good day! Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2010 at 06:33 am

Happy Halloween! I love the trick or treaters coming to the door.

I have had my ups and downs over the past 10 days. I started my day out by sleeping until 8:45, which is unheard of (up today at 5:00 a.m.). I went almost a full 60 minutes on the treadmill (watching Suze Orman and then Till Debt Do Us Part that were DVR'd).

Then YD, granddaughter and I went to Eureka to let GD trick or treat. We met her BFF and mom there and walked another who knows how far. I was a bit concerned about all the walking and I did get stiff later in the day, but my back was surprisingly pain-free. Either it was the exercise or all the new vitamins and supplements I am taking.

Came home to a completely clean living area with a fire in the fireplace. (DH did it after getting home from his early Saturday morning run to work).

Friday evening I took advantage of Safeway's sales and had an employee tell me all about the new Just for U program. Finally after 30 years, our grocery stores are finally in a bit of a war. Employee specifically said that with the new program, prices would be lower than Winco or Costco. Okay I will give it a whirl.

Here is what I bought:

The commercial peanut butter is for cookies, you know the kind with the chocolate kisses in the middle. It was $1.29 a jar. The apple juice was 97 cents! The brownie mixes were 88 cents. I spent just over $34.00. I know not impressive for some of you coupon queen types, but I was pretty excited.

I finally finished the baby quilt for YD's friend who is due any day:

Can you see that little arm and leg?

YD has become a bit obscessed making Yo Gabba Gabba shirts and has opened an Etsy store.

Finally here is the latest picture of my winter garden box:

It has been almost 2 months since planting. Time to start harvesting!

Fibromyalgia....who, me?

October 21st, 2010 at 10:19 am

Diagnosed on Tuesday while seeing a doctor that my comp doctor sent me to, who was supposed to fix what the specialist out of the area thought I had. Instead she gives me this diagnosis!

I promptly went to the library and checked out every single book on the subject. Having been in the medical field for over 30 years, I know this started out as an "all in your head" type of thing that many doctors did not believe in, so I was not thrilled for this reason to be given this diagnosis.

However, research has come a long way. Apparently exercise is not going to be optional anymore for me. AND I had better start taking my vitamins along with a B-complex. AND diet, forget anymore yummy fall desserts made with apples and pumpkins... sugar is bad. Milk and gluten are iffy.

I am like the worst person in the world to be given this diagnosis as I am totally not into holistic medicine. Apparently I have to start being into it as this seems to be the only treatment, other than a few drugs.

So this should be fun! At least I live in Northern California where alternative medicine is abundant. Hey maybe I can get my 215 card!

On the frugal front, I am trying really hard because I really don't see myself going back to work now. DH and daughter are both being supportive and daughter has been helping out much more (anything other than what she was doing is much more!)

Luckily before being diagnosed I put up 12 jars of apple butter and 7 quarts of apple filling and froze some more chopped apples (for those yummy fall desserts). I also made an apple pie that morning. The pie is gone so I will not be making another one until I see if this giving up sugar thing helps. The apples were "free" and after buying a new water bath canner and the jars, I still think it was a good investment.

I plan to get better and use the canner in the coming years.

Oh and my left leg is shorter than my right, so I had to get one of those gel insert thingees to put in my left shoe.

I am trying to be positive (since that is another treatment), but having always been a very busy person, it is going to definitely be a challenge to "take care of myself" as I am always taking care of everyone else.

I bought some new fabric that I love! I am also supposed to do something every day I enjoy... quilting!

Of course this little face along with my neighbor's little girl is enough to make me happy.

Okay....time to get up. It took forever to catch up on everyone's blogs! Reading them does remind me of things I need to do and I do appreciate everyone's blogs. Yes I read every entry! That is why I blog so little. I get too caught up in everyone else!


October 13th, 2010 at 08:48 am

Watching the miners be rescued. What a site! What human spirit, very inspiring....

Watching Team Umazoomi with granddaughter, little female is braiding ribbons, red, yellow, blue, red, yellow, blue...what comes next? Um.... green?? Oh no red!! I obviously am too dumb for these preschool shows!!

Yesterday was a monumentous day for us. I deposited a dividend check that put us over our savings goal for the year. That is with me not working and 2 months early to boot.

Ummmm, what we were spending my salary on? I think I can safely say (well until my COBRA runs out) that I am not returning to work.

Did I really spend that??

October 6th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

$5.99 for Mission low carb flour tortillas?? for 10 of them?? How in the he** did I do that. That is what happens when you live in a small town, your daughter photographed the checker's daughter's wedding and you have known her for 20 years and you are talking the whole time. So I give her the money for the tortillas and quart of half and half yakking the entire time. I did not even notice until this morning when I started to write down yesterday's spending (doing this since went from cash to debit card, see last entry). Okay next time I will go to slightly out of the way Winco in Eureka instead of stopping at easy Safeway in my town.

DH is shorthanded at our business right now. I worked as cashier yesterday for 3 hours and was beat!! It makes me even more determined to keep the house and yard clean, and make delicious frugal meals, stretching every penny he earns.

My menu for the week has already changed since there is still leftover chili and I found some ham that was supposed to be eaten by 09/30, but not opened yet. So I need to find some good thing to make with deli ham. DH suggested we have baked potato with assorted toppings, which is what I will do tonight, but that will not use all the ham. We also have pancetta that needs to be eaten, but that is easy.... pasta dish.

I know, brussel sprouts with ham. That would be delish!

Okay time for lunch and in to get my flu shot.

Monday Madness

October 4th, 2010 at 02:43 pm

Middle daughter arrived last night with her large dog. She is snoring beside me on the floor along with my little jack russell.

The venison arrived home all nicely packaged and frozen on Friday. DH's hunting partner paid for it and paid for DH's license. I asked him over dinner Saturday evening how much the license was. That is when he told me he did not pay for it. He asked why I wanted to know and I told him I was trying to figure out how much the venison cost us. He said, "Oh don't do that". Ha ha. This year maybe not so much. DH was in charge of the food this year, so he did spend more than in the past years.

I opened a new checking account at the credit union that refinanced our house. It pays 2.51% up to $25,000.00. I have to use our debit card 10 times a month and pay our bills online. I already set up the bill pay for next month (already paid from other bank). I just started cash only so I am going to have to get DH and I used to using the debit card again. At Costco, we will have to swipe both our membership card and the debit card. When I realized how often DH has to fill up (about every 6 days) along with my fill-up once a month or so, we should have no trouble with the debit card use.

Still for 2.51%, I think it is well worth it.

My little seedlings are doing well:

My disability check arrived today. I think I can count on it for 2 more months, when I have my next doctor's appointment. I had a consult along with nerve conductions and EMGs (NCS were awful) and I have no nerve damage, just muscular problems, myofascial syndrome. I am starting yoga on Thursday, and doctor is asking for deep tissue massage from the comp carrier. I have way more pain that I would have thought after being off work for 2 months. I think I am trying to do too much around the house making up for it (I have worked my entire marriage, while raising 3 daughters), and I feel guilty not being able to contribute financially.

DH suggested yesterday that I "take a week off". I called him this morning after again waking up and not being able to get comfortable and told him I was going to do it.

I am going to cake decorating, but am going to just observe if I feel it is too labor intensive. Last week it was really hard to make the flowers and I could not squeeze the frosting out in a continuous line. My family still thought the cake was cute.

No way are they good enough to sell, but thanks!!

YD emptied the dishwasher and grated cheese for me today. I walked on my treadmill and my granddaughter in her stroller. I only lifted my granddaughter once today when she accidentally turned on the vacuum cleaner. It freaked her out and she came running into the kitchen so I picked her up and tried not to laugh too loud. Ha Ha. She is too cute:

SIL skyped this morning from Afghanistan. Luckily granddaughter woke up and saw him before he had to hang up.

I made apple butter over the weekend from free apples. However, I did invest in a water bath canner, some jars and accessories for $42.00 or so from Bed, Bath and Beyond. I had a 20% off purchase and a $10.00 off $40.00 purchase and the clerk let me use them both for $16.00 off.

I also had $10.00 in Kohl's cash and a $10.00 off that came with our newspaper that I was also able to use together. I bought a back massager and 3 shirts for DH and one for myself for again, $42.16.

Lastly, I have my menus planned for the next 3 weeks.
Here is this week:
Tuesday-Chicken breast stir-fry
Wednesday-Spaghetti and meatballs (ground venison).
Friday-Homemade pizza.
Saturday-Lentil/sausage soup and some kind of yummy bread and yummy dessert.
Sunday-Pot roast, carrots and potatoes.

DH got a buck!

September 21st, 2010 at 03:37 pm

A deer buck that is. However, it is not really free food when you consider the gas, the food, the tags, etc. But at least we will get some of that back in good free meat. However, I only like it ground up for barbecued hamburgers, etc. DH loves it all. I could probably stand making some into "buck" stroganoff or stew or something, but DH just likes to flour and fry it.... yuck!

Went to mom's today (she is still visiting my siblings) and picked about 2 cups of thornless blackberries and 3 zucchini, small, medium and large. Since it had been raining lately on the North Coast, I did not go over to her house/garden for several days.

I am enjoying my new hobby of cake decorating. I am trying to get all supplies from Michael's for 50% off, so far I have. Unfortunately I ran out of Crisco and powdered sugar from Winco and had to run to Safeway. Aaach! It was expensive at Safeway. Must remember to stock up next time I am in town at Winco. I have to admit some of my flowers don't look a thing like they should, but my family thinks everything so far is cute!

I am starting Financial Peace University tomorrow at a local church. I have been using the envelope system, but totally not being disciplined about it. Since I already purchased the stuff at the site on special, apparently I don't have to pay for the local classes, according to the leader anyway.

YD was watching Till Debt Do Us Part today with me and said she was interested and would watch the others recorded on the DVR. She and DSIL tried to listen to Financial Peace CD's before SIL went to Afghanistan while driving home from San Diego. DSIL called me laughing saying he couldn't stand it, he sounded too much live a televangelist. I think I have conviced YD to try again without DH (he has arrived safely in Afghanistan, and he called right after the news about the downed Black Hawk helicopter today).

Disability check arrived yesterday. I have an appointment out of town on Friday for carpal tunnel testing. Not sure how long disability will last, I am sure the comp carrier is working towards closing my claim, which I realize is going to happen. Just every day that goes by I feel more and more that I cannot go back to transcribing. In fact, I had better stop typing now!

Ally comes running when she hears the coffee grinder and says, "making coffee?". She also loves to hear the kitchenaid whipping.

Meal Planning

September 13th, 2010 at 08:12 am

My girls are home, my SIL is in Afthanistan and it is time to really start with the menu planning/shopping.

I know some here are doing the same and I have a link for you:


Each Monday they have so many blog links with menus for the week. This one is really good as it also has a shopping list:


Now I just have to do it (plan the menu)!

Tonight is my second cake decorating class. Last week was really fun, but hard on the wrists. This was not the smartest class to take in the middle of being evaluated for carpal tunnel syndrome. I will wear my elastic wrist braces tonight and hope that helps.

Anniversary Day

September 8th, 2010 at 09:42 am

32 years. Eeek! It hit me 2 days ago on DH's birthday that I had known him for 40 years. Boy that really makes me feel old, but then I met him at orientation day of Junior High.

After a few beautiful Indian Summer Days here in Humboldt, the rain has arrived, but hopefully not for long. DH is leaving work early and we have a free day planned. Not sure what we will be doing. Originally I wanted to drive down to Ferndale and have lunch, but now that it is raining, I dunno what to do.

After my financial tantrum in April, not only am I paying all the bills, but I have taken over pretty much all household spending, cooking, cleaning, etc due to my unexpected "retirement".

It is definitely my job to stretch every dollar. Last night we had leftover steak sandwiches (leftover from DH's birthday dinner). We bought individual rolls at Safeway (3/1.00), sliced steak thin, used grilled onion and red bell pepper from Sunday's carne asada leftovers and a slice of cheddar on the other side of the bread, stuck under the broiler until cheese melts. Yum!

I think we are eating out today, either lunch or dinner, not sure which, will depend on our mood. I paid cash for oil changes for both trucks, one yesterday and one today. I dropped Landon off at the doggy beauty parlor after the oil change. I took him for a walk and after the overnight rain, he was pretty dirty. I had to take off my fleece jacket and lay on DH's truck seat (since it was so clean)! Luckily he stayed put the entire ride to the beauty shop.

Frugal Friday....

September 3rd, 2010 at 07:56 am

Am I being frugal? Is cash only really helping? All I know is that since I quit my job and am now a stay-at-home wife/grandma and took over the responsibility of shopping, I feel like all I do is spend money. But maybe that is because I did not do the grocery shopping before quitting my job. The only spending I did was "personal"?? DH has done the shopping/cooking for over 30 years! Now I do it .... with his input.

When you guys would talk about no spend days, I would think what the heck.... most of my days are no spend days!!

Now I understand!!

Part of the problem is getting into the routine of shopping and cooking. Like we run out of milk for my granddaughter or fruit or veges.

I think I need to plan better. No make that I need to plan better, I don't think, I know! I need to look in the frig and cupboards before I make a grocery run, shake the milk carton. I was just at the store on Wednesday and then had to go last night when I realized there would be no milk for her for breakfast, and she loves her sippy cup first thing in the morning. What is a grandma to do? Run down to Safeway and buy Lucerne brand 100% lactose free milk since I used my only Lactaid coupon. It was $3.79 a gallon. It was $3.00 at Winco (Darigold brand) and I need to make sure I buy enough to last between trips.

So that is the plan.....planning better!

I used a coupon!

August 31st, 2010 at 04:12 pm

Granddaughter was out of milk and she needs the Lactaid type. I actually remember I had cut a $1.00 coupon out of a magazine for Lactaid. I usually get Darigold because it is cheaper than Lactaid, but with the $1.00 coupon, Lactaid was cheaper than the non-name brand (in this case Lucerne since I went to Safeway).

So I bought that along with a $1.00 bag of spinach and $1.00 chopped up mushrooms for tonight's pork stir-fry dinner. Pork was given to us by the neighbors when they moved so San Diego.

I have about $20.00 left in cash for the week, but I only took out $100.00 instead of $200.00. I am still tweaking how much to take out since I am still using AMEX to buy gas at Costco (cheapest place to buy it).

What happened?????

August 29th, 2010 at 04:38 pm

Did I read the P&G site incorrectly. I could have sworn the San Francisco Chronicle was going to have the Proctor and Gamble Super Saver in it this weekend. So I spent $3.00 to buy a Chronicle and no P&G saver.

It seems like printing coupons is expensive the way my printer goes through ink cartridges.

Part of me thinks I should just stay away from coupon sites because I just find myself getting frustrated reading about everyone else's great deals.

Inspired by Jefferey....

August 26th, 2010 at 08:19 am

I am going to try couponing, but slowly. My local paper has Smartsource only. Most grocery stores do not have coupons having around (like I have seen when back East visiting my daughter), and no one ever doubles.

But what the heck. I go into CVS on Monday to try to take advantage of their ad for P&G products, get $10.00 back when spending $25.00. Well it so happened we were on our last toilet paper AND paper towel roll. I was just sick and I love Puffs! I am all set.

So I snatch up the Charmin and Bounty, go find the Puffs 3-pack I saw pictured in the ad. Darn Diet Pepsi is already gone (4/$10).

Long line at checkout. I leave, and guess what, no $10.00 off next purchase. My receipt says $22.98 met for extra bucks. Oh well, I have to get home. I will stop and get Pepsi and fulfill the rest for the $10.00 rebate later in the week.

Yesterday, back in town for glaucoma testing. Go to same CVS. Aaahh Diet Pepsi is in. Pick up 4 of them for DH (I occasionally drink Diet Coke, Pepsi yuck!), go find the single puffs boxes, pick up 3. Go to check out, the man in front of me is buying tennis balls that ring up the wrong price. Off the check and he go to check the price. I wait patiently (now that I don't have a job, it is way easier to stand in line without getting irritated).

My turn, the puffs do not ring up 99 cents. He checks the ad. I have the big boxes, it is for smaller boxes. How many places in the store does CVS have tissues? Apparently more than I thought. I go off to aisle 25 to find the right box (not by the pharmacy where I found the ones I had).

Back in line, everything rings up. I spend my last $23.00 cash for the week for groceries because of the diet pepsi and the Fiber 1 cereal I purchased. Long line in back of me. I was not going to separate out and pay with my separate envelopes of cash!

Which makes me think I should just lump my grocery/household spending into one cash category, then I would not have that delimma.

Onto Costco to fill up the truck (daughter and SIL are using my Camry while SIL is home on predeployment leave, since their cars are both in SC, where they actually live). Regular gas is $3.119999 a gallon at Costco (cheapest place to buy gas here). Why are gas prices in Humboldt County usually highest in the nation?

My advice for the Day

August 23rd, 2010 at 06:00 pm

If you have lots to do and are very motivated, do not drink a glass of wine with hummus and crackers at 5:00 p.m.

Suddenly all I feel like doing is drinking another glass of wine and doing nothing......

She is 2 today!

August 18th, 2010 at 01:28 pm

Two years ago I became a grandmother. One of the best days of my life!

I think I am being pretty restrained, here are her gifts. I finished the sweater last weekend in Tahoe.

She is spending the day in Disneyland with her daddy (who is deploying to Afghanistan soon) and my daughter, her mommy. Hopefully she is better today after being seen in the ER with an allergic reaction apparently to Japanese food. My daughter said 15 minutes after they gave her Benadryl and something else (probably a steroid), who face swelling went down considerably. She was having croupy sounding breathing too. Very scary. They missed their breakfast with Minnie and Mickey.

Also Campfrugal asked for the recipe and here it is:


1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. peanutbutter (smooth)
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. Hershey Kisses

Mix all ingredients together except for Kisses. Drop by spoonful, shape into ball, roll in sugar.
Bake at 375 degrees 10 to 12 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet. Remove from oven. Press Kiss on cookie and let cool.

I generally double the recipe and use dark chocolate kisses. I don't roll in sugar, and I usually put back into the oven to let the kisses melt a little bit. I also use butter instead of shortening.

Happy August 18th!

Busy, Busy, Busy.....

August 17th, 2010 at 08:12 pm

First of all, I am so proud to say we did not eat out during our entire Tahoe visit. We did buy deli sandwiches in Reno while bridal dress shopping with MD. On the drive home, we stopped in Redding, CA to pick up some serving dishes we loaned for the family wedding, and I got deli meat, cheese and mayo along with some Costco rolls out of the ice chest and made sandwiches.

DH must be getting kind of used to me being a housewife, because he told me "I want 2" as he passed through the kitchen with another load of serving dishes, hauling them to the truck.

Monday was a mad work around the house day, unpacking, laundry, cleaning the house.

Today I cooked and helped DH prepare for his annual bow hunting trip. I baked peanut blossoms, made macaroni salad for the first time, garlic butter, shucked corn and prepared fresh asparagus for roasting.

Then I cleaned the kitchen up after he left. Whew this housewife stuff is tiring!

My disability check arrived on time, our rent check arrived late, but had the late fee added, so I deposited those yesterday.

Need to pay rental house payment tomorrow along with our gigantic AMEX bill. I had physical therapy this morning too. It has been a busy couple of days.

Hello from South Lake Tahoe

August 14th, 2010 at 10:57 am

Using daughters iPad. Missed Friday the 13th wedding. Unlucky migraine with accompanying severe nausea hit that morning so I missed husband's nephew's wedding. I felt bad as my SIL needed my help, but DH took over my duties in addition to his own barbecuing duties.

We have 3 uncooked tri-tips to take home. That was our contribution to the small family wedding. We also rented a house and have been eating here instead of restaurants.

Wedding was on the lake, and we are heading over to help clean up and DH and future SIL are thinking about a gondola ride up Heavenly.

Dh leaves for his annual bow hunting trip next week and daughter and granddaughter are heading down to pick up Marine SIL in San Diego. So I will be home alone for a few days.

My plan is to get a fall garden in, finish a baby quilt for oldest daughter's friend and sew buttons on granddaughter 's sweater I finished this morning.

Have a relaxing weekend everyone.

For the first time in my adult life......

August 10th, 2010 at 04:26 pm

I am unemployed. It's official, I just e-mailed my resignation after talking to my boss (my former employer is several states away). I just reviewed my blog entries and I have not even mentioned taking 3 weeks off work for medical leave. Since my comp injury 1 year ago, I have never taken time off work to try to get better. I finally decided to just take it even if the doctor did not give me total disability (I have been on partial disability for several months). Well my shoulders are much better, but my wrists are worse, so I am keeping this short!

My right hand has a nice little lump of a ganglion cyst and my left hand is numb when I wake up in the morning.

So after discussing with DH, we decided to bite the bullet for a while and let me try to recover or figure out some type of work other than medical transcription.

Now I really have to get frugal!

Tonight is barbecued chicken pizza and I hung out a load of laundry to dry. I went to physical therapy and now need to get packed for our trip to Tahoe tomorrow for a family wedding. The rented house is already paid for and I have menus planned for the entire family. Need to pack up the food I am taking and make a list of what to buy.

Wow is my life going to change. Any advice anyone?

Calling Mrs. Frugalista!!

August 9th, 2010 at 08:35 am

Well you have probably given up on me, but here is my pizza dough recipe in case you still need it. It is from my Oster bread machine cookbook:

Jim's Pizza Crust

Water 7 to 8 oz.
Salt 1/2 tsp
Olive oil or vegetable oil 2 Tbsp
All purpose flour 3 cups
Active dry yeast 1.5 tsp

Combine all ingredients into bread pan, select dough setting. Start. When signal displays done, blah, blah blah. Pull dough out of maching.

Pat dough into a 12 x 15 inch jelly roll pan or greased 12 inch round pizza pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread pizza sauce over dough. Sprinkle toppings over sauce. Bake 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Back in the days before we had bread machines we used a pizza recipe from the Betty Crocker Breads recipe "book" that we bought after first married almost 32 years ago (first printing 1977), which is where the sauce comes from too:

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tablespoons salad oil
3 to 3.5 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons salad oil

Prepare sauce (recipe to follow). Dissolve yeast in warm water in large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, salt, 3 tablespoons of oil and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place 45 minutes. (Dough is ready if an indentation remains when touched).

Heat over to 400 degrees. Grease 2 jelly roll pans with 2 tablespoons of oil. Punch dough down, divide in half. Roll each half into a rectangle 16 x 11 inches. Place rectangle in each pan.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce over each pizza. Cover with toppings. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake 25 minutes.

Pizza Sauce
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic or onion powder
1/8 tsp pepper.

Mix all ingredients. Let stand 1 hour.

Now I find it interesting that I used the Oster recipe to make 1 pizza where as the Betty Crocker recipe says it makes 2. I must like thicker pizza crust.

The last pizza I made and the one I am making tomorrow is a barbecued chicken pizza. I used Sweet Baby Ray's regular barbecue sauce instead of regular tomato sauce. I used 2 chicken breasts just sauteed in some oil with salt and pepper (tonight DH is barbecuing chicken breasts along with tonight's pork for tomorrow's pizza. I used red bell pepper and onions that I sauteed before putting on the pizza and mozarella and cheddar cheese. Chopped cilantro on top of the cheese. Yum! I hope you find this useful.

Mother of the Bride..... again.....

August 4th, 2010 at 05:54 am

DH and I were running errands on Saturday, both starving and decided to go ahead and be cheap and have hot dogs and soda at Costco instead of spending more money.... Good thing too! Middle daughter's boyfriend called and said he was at our house! What? They live 6.5 hours away in Reno, Nevada. He needs to talk to us. I freak, call oldest daughter and ask if MD's BF if in trouble? No she says.... now you must wonder what is wrong with me. You see he was just here a week before for a friend's funeral and he was turning 30 in a few days. MD and BF have lived together on and off for 9 years! Well his brother and nephew were down from Washington State. We told him we would meet him at Starbucks. By the time we got there, we pretty much knew what it must be. Yes, he asked if he could marry our daughter. DH said yes before he even finished asking.

Sunday BF and his mother came to our house for breakfast before he took off for home. My stomach was in knots all day. What if she said no?? She called at 6:30 p.m. very excited. She said yes.

For some reason I thought this would be a calm wedding situation since they have been together for so long and are 29 and 30, will both be 30 by the time of the wedding, but NOOOOOO!!!! MD and YD were on the phone giggling and crying and she wants to go dress shopping next week with her sisters and I. Luckily we already were planning to go to Tahoe for a wedding on Friday the 13th, so we are leaving a day early so we can all go dress shopping together. She already is searching for venues, trying to figure out the guest list. This is day 2 of engagement!

YD's wedding was planned and executed in 13 days since SIL was deploying for Iraq. We had 13 days of craziness and then had a lovely wedding. In this case, I think we are having 10 months of craziness (tentative date 06/11/11).

Luckily I have our contribution saved (same as the cost of YD's wedding), and am thinking I should put the same amount aside for OD just in case. I'm sure MD's wedding will cost twice as much as YD's. Luckily we are locked in to the cheaper amount! Ha Ha. MD was happy as she said it was more than she was expecting from us anyway.

YD has one of her photos on a billboard at Camp LeJuene, NC, as the welcome home for a battalion from Afghanistan. She had taken the picture previously of a couple and the wife submitted it in a contest and they won! We are very proud of her.

I vant to be alone....

July 23rd, 2010 at 05:54 pm

Everyone is gone.... I have the whole weekend to myself....what to do? what to do?

First, DH left to take his mom to Sacramento for her cousin's 50th wedding anniversary. What a good son he is. Unfortunately he will be staying in a hotel for 2 nights with corresponding eating out. Before he left, he signed papers for our refi. Yesterday he finished trimming out our new windows so the refi could go through before our 30 day lock was up.

I just figured out it will take us 2 years to recoup the money in reduced payments, but has anyone figured out how fast you recoup the money if you keep making the same payment, but you are saving because of lower interest? Now that would be an interesting comparison. Anyhoo, bottom line is we can live fairly comfortably if I have to stop working for some reason, say like my neck and hand/wrist pain get worse....

YD and GD have driven to San Diego (2 day trip with a toddler, thank the person who invented portable DVD players) to visit Marine SIL. SIL just called me to say GD was so excited to see him she actually started crying. What will it be like when he returns from Afghanistan after 7 months? It has only been 6 weeks since she last saw him. Makes me sad for her and all the other military kids.

In my frugalness I had given up one of my small indulgences, liquid hand soap from Bath and Body works. Yes I always bought it on sale, but still 3 for $10.00 is still expensive.

I went into Bed, Bath and Beyond to get a wedding gift for one of my friend's daughter (with my $10.00 off a $40.00 purchase naturally) and while waiting for my gift to be wrapped for free, I found some very nice smelling large liquid hand soaps for 5 for $5.00!! They had a very nice lavendar, which is my favorite, a grapefruit and fresh cotton. Those were the ones I bought anyway. They also had some other ones, like crisp apple and coconut lime. I am on my second jug from a double pack of SoftSoap from Costco that I purchsed with a coupon, so these will be a nice break from that. What can I say, it's the little things in life!

Which leads to my next issue, stopping at the library since I was in town signing the papers for the refi (well the title company anyway, I am not on the mortgage). I found a new book by Tracy Chevalier I have not read, Remarkable Creatures. I loved Girl with the Pearl Earring and Burning Bright. I picked up 3 more books from authors I am not familar with, but the descriptions sounded good.

So my plans for the weekend are working in my yard, organizing photos, organizing recipes, cleaning, laundry, and maybe knitting if my hands/wrists can handle it. I have a sweater about half done for GD that I need to finish before she outgrows it! I could also organize my fabric if I feel like it. Do you see a theme here? GD will be 2 next month and I have not organized any of the tons of photos we have of her. I really should make that my priority.

But for now, it's dinner, maybe some Starbucks Mocha frappucinno ice cream and the first 2 episodes of Pillars of the Earth (free on Direct TV, the real series starts either tonight or Sunday and I already have the DVR set, but I cannot wait until then, unless a Lifetime movie sounds better when I get back there and see what we have recorded!).

I did make those turkey meatballs earlier this week and threw them into Classico sauce with an added can of tomatoes and some added garlic and spices.

I used steak rub and fennel seed crushed with more chopped garlic and baked them. My two younger picky daughters liked them. MD did not like the gnocchi I cooked to serve with them from TJs. YD did though. GD liked the gnocchi, but made a really funny face when she put a piece of the meatball in her mouth with the sauce. What todder does not like spaghetti with sauce??

Okay time to get up and make dinner... but first I had better go water the front flowers.

This and That

July 19th, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Man oh man, I really need to get wireless set up so I can stay up on everyone's blogs better. There is nothing worse than being away and catching up and missing stuff!

We submitted tax returns for the corporations we are partners in or own shares in or whatever the correct term is. The house was appraised and now I am waiting to hear if they need anything else from us. When DH took the papers into the credit union, the representative seemed surprised at the huge amount of papers. DH told her he would bring the pint of blood from our firstborn tomorrow! Ha Ha.

I figured up today that I have saved 85% of my salary since starting my new job in late April. My goal of having liquid savings to $50,000 by the end of the year seems almost doable. We are at just over $36,000 now.

Went to K-Mart yesterday to get a sandbox for our granddaughter and ended up finding a 24 box of crayons for 25 cents. I bought 4 boxes. They will be nice to have on hand since DGD loves to color.

We also bought 4-50 pound bags of sand. Then we stopped at Safeway for lunch fixins and I found Best Foods Mayonaise Light for $1.99, which is cheap! They also had Breyers and Starbucks ice cream products, buy 4 for $1.99 each. I think we have enough ice cream for the rest of the summer!

Today ran to Winco and bought fruit, veges, milk for granddaughter(nonlactaid stuff) and then DH ran to Costco for our milk, eggs, half and half, tomatoes, lunchmeat and butter. He also bought himself 4 pairs of black Kirkland brand jeans he wears to work.

Dinner tonight was a standing pork roast(purchased at Costco around the holidays)and mashed cauliflower/potatoes and grilled corn on the cob. A customer had taken DH and his employees a fabulous chocolate cake yesterday, so the leftover was tonight's dessert. MD and BF arrived right as dinner was ready for a visit from Reno. Tomorrow is lentil soup since it is middle daughter's boyfriend's favorite.

In organizing my pantry today, I discovered a whole lot of pasta and jarred Classico and Trader Joe sauces. Maybe I should change lentil soup to meatballs and spaghetti. I still have some ground turkey chubs I bought cheap a few months ago. I used them to make meatballs a while ago and you could not even tell they were turkey. I think it was the parmigian cheese that was in them....

Bedtime, what I am doing up anyway this late?

Lots going on

July 5th, 2010 at 07:52 am

Since last post, flew up and spent 18 days in the Seattle area (Kent and Tacoma actually) where I saw 2 days without ran (this was in late June). My SIL, daughter and granddaughter flew up to see their BFF's and I could not stand that my granddaughter was on the West coast, so I flew up and stayed with my sister mostly and my brother a few nights too. DH came up and drove us all home 2 weeks ago (except SIL who had flow back to SC to prepare for training in San Diego pending Afghanistan deployment). YD then drove my car to San Diego to spend a week with her husband, leaving our sweet granddaughter with us for a week.

Here she is sleeping with her babies,a moose, a bear and yes a pig!
It was a hectic, fun memorable week. Thank goodness life is settling down a bit..... not....

We are refinancing our house, 4.5% for 30 years, no points through a credit union we belong to. The appraisal is Wednesday.

Yesterday was YD and SIL's 4th anniversary. Enjoyed going through some old pictures yesterday and listening to granddaughter "talk" to her daddy.

Rescued a little dog (5 pounds or so little fluffy white thing)yesterday and luckily found its home. It was found wandering in our neighborhood.

Had a sleep study late in May and now have a CPAP that I have gotten used to and thank goodness I am waking up without headaches.

Made a quilt for my elderly neighbor who has moved to Minnesota, along with my sister's grandkids each a quilt. Need to make 1 more for YD's BFF who is due on November.

This was for 3 year old boy, the main print is trains.

Love, love, love the Kitty Cucumber main fabric.

And lastly DH is still paying the bills, doing well, but spent way too much time preparing a wonderful 4th of July dinner for us, my mother, my sister (who was passing through Humboldt from the Bay Area on her way home to Salem) our neighbor (whose husband is a CHP and had to work) along with her 16-month-old (Ally's new best friend) and it is time for me to start doing more in that area like I did during the challenge with the same sister in February.

A Quick Update

May 20th, 2010 at 01:30 pm

Since turning the finances over to DH about 5 weeks ago, actually I think it was 5 weeks ago today. Has it really been that short of time?

It is the weirdest thing. I just have stopped worrying. I am able to focus on doing other things. I am getting more projects done. I am happier.

But I may have to contribute some of the contentment to working from home again. I went to see my occupational health doctor yesterday and she told me that I looked so much better. I guess the stress of my old job was showing greatly.

Anyway turning the finances over to DH, starting a new job working from home (but actually doing the same work) has all contributed to a more relaxed happy me.

From a financial standpoint, I think DH is more aware of costs and will definitely help contribute to the household bottom line.

The stock market tumble today is nerve wracking. I still feel things are going to get worse. Hey it's probably a good day to call Scottrade and convert my SEP-IRA to a Roth!

The house is rented and good books from the library

April 24th, 2010 at 09:09 pm

I tend to lose my library card a lot. It is $3.00 for a new 1, but I figure it is cheaper than buying books. I was very excited that Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth and The New Earth were both available today. I have been wanting to read The New Earth, but was too cheap to buy it when it first came out. Then the other day I saw a mini-series or movie or something advertised on TV "Pillars of the Earth", and realized it has been so long since I read it, I wanted to read it again.

Our house in Oregon was rented this week to 2 dental hygienist students with a cocker spaniel. We asked for a $500.00 deposit for the dog. I think most responsible pet owners are not going to trash a house, anyway I hope not! My daughter had a small dog in the house when she lived therem and I have a small dog and they have not done any damage.

Very happy though to rent the house. It took about 3 weeks.

My first 4 days of my new job were stressful learning the new computer platform, but by the 3rd day, Friday, I was feeling a bit more comfortable.

DH is still dealing with the money and went to the bank today to deposit the rental money. We used our Costco rebate today. Starbucks coffee was $4.50 off a bag. They had the same sale in December and we went through 5 bags since then (had purchased 4 in December and had to buy an additional 1 a few weeks ago, so I bought 5 bags today. Iams Dog food was $10.00 off. Then we bought our usual milk, half and half, eggs, milk and Tillamook Cheddar cheese; then splurged on some pesto and a block of good parmigiano reggiano cheese. Okay we got some skinny cows, some frozen pizzas that were reduced (we have had them before and they are yummy)and toilet paper.

We bought asparagus, red bell peppers, boboli pizza bread and flour tortillas.

Tonight we had baked chicken and I wanted to try a recipe for barbecued chicken pizza. Unfortunately I did not look at the price of the boboli, something I do not remember purchasing for over 20 years. I was shocked they were $6.39 for 2!

Tomorrow we are making burittos from chuck roast from our grass fed beef that is in the freezer. I am sending them home with MD's boyfriend who is here working, along with some meat from the freezer and pantry items. He is in the electrical union and has been working sporadically, and my MD's income has been cut too and I know they are having a difficult time.

Thank you whoever invented Skype, we spent over half an hour before dinner watching our dear sweet granddaughter play with our SIL. She has changed so much in the 10 weeks since I saw her. I can hardly wait for them to get here, as much as I wish my DSIL was not deploying.

I am very thankful I can work from home again, or from their home for that matter when I need to.

I have lots to do tomorrow, so I am going to be early and get started reading my first Ken Follett book.

One Job ends, another begins....

April 20th, 2010 at 09:28 pm

Today was my last day at the hospital and tomorrow I start with the company my job was outsourced to. I am so happy to be working from home again.

I think resigning from CFO was one of the smartest things I could do. I got over my anger, especially since the game they went to Friday night, the Sharks won in a very exciting game in overtime...

So I think we have it worked out that DH is going to pay the bills and keep track and I will continue to do the upkeep in Quicken. Today I went on-line with him and went over bill paying and then went on AMEX and paid our American Express.

We had a moment of panic when DH thought the balance in the checkbook was really a check amount and we did not have enough in the account to cover the checks he wrote for taxes, but after getting ready to run to the banks to transfer cash he took another look and realized the $1200 was the balance left in the account after subtracting the checks he wrote.

My goal really was for us to start sitting down together and managing the money and I think in the long run that is what is going to happen. I am going to have more time to concentrate on frugal living and doing some things I enjoy more than tracking every dime.

DH drove my car down to the Bay Area for the game so in reality I don't know that he spent more than $250.00. I didn't realize we were going to get a dividend check either that arrived this week that covered our taxes and the new windows for the house.

But you know what, I would have spent the entire time he was gone managing, analyzing and juggling the money. Maybe I just need a break from it.

So it's bedtime and when I get up I don't have to go anywhere to work except the front bedroom of our house! Perfect timing too, a storm has once again hit Northern Coastal California.

I have resigned as CFO

April 15th, 2010 at 05:09 pm

of our little household. I am sick of trying to be frugal and stay on track, only to have DH decide he is going to go on a little trip to watch the Sharks play tomorrow night. I know, not a big deal right?
Well it is when you have $3000.00 to taxes, $2000.00 to new windows that DH ordered without any planning, (other than me mentioning accountant said to get any windows, etc replaced this year), and a large AMEX bill due to some work travel, all due.

I scrape, I sacrifice, I pinch pennies until they bleed and he pretty much does what he wants. This was the final straw.

I got both checkbooks, wrote in the balances, printed out activity from both checking accounts and the savings accounts for the past month. I printed out all the web sites along with log-in names and passwords, made a list of monthly bills and when I paid them, took the tax stuff, current bills, put everything in a big folder and said, "here".

So now I can stop worrying, planning, juggling, etc and do what I want to do (which is gardening, quilting, and frugal living). Now if we have no money when we retire, it will not be my fault!

PS I should say this was one day after I decided to accept a job with the company my job was outsourced to. Since we are paid by production, I have no idea how much money I will be making really, especially since I am only working 4 hours a day.

Another epiphany....

April 3rd, 2010 at 05:12 am

Every year I start out gung ho on tracking every penny and usually by March/April it becomes overwhelming.

My epiphany is I spend too much time on the internet reading, tracking my spending, planning and not enough actually doing!

Case in point: DH drove up to Oregon to do some maintenance on our rental home. He called and said let's grab a rice/bean/cheese burrito when I get home (Lent). Well I had spent a few hours yesterday entering receipts into quicken and YNAB (don't ask). I started thinking I don't want to spent $15.00 on a couple of so-so burittos at the local Mexican food place. What is wrong with me? My BFF is half mexican and gave me her grandmother's rice recipe and we have canned beans. I checked the frig, yep have tortillas. Wow I even have sour cream and TJ's chips, plus we always have Tillamook cheddar cheese.

I had all the ingredients for the rice including an open container of chicken broth in the frig. So by the time DH drove up an hour or so later I was finishing up the ingredients and was heating the tortillas.

I did so well in February with food when I was in a challenge with my sister, so I need to have that mind set all the time!

My job ended Friday the 26th of March and I received my last check yesterday. I am working on contract until the outsourcing company takes over the hospital transcription department. I have been offered a job Tues-Sat 8-12 with the company. I am happy to have a job, but do not feel the great relief I thought I would feel after finally talking to the HR department. I am apprehensive as I hate change!

I am going to start using envelopes to budget instead of tracking every penny. That way if I have leftover money in an envelope I know we did well. If I run out or look like I am running out, I know I need to be careful. Till Debt Do Us Part is sinking in.....

I did splurge on Easter books for:

But then she is my only grandchild and lives so far away. Easter really snuck up on me this year so I ordered from Amazon yesterday and paid extra for the books to be delivered today.

I would love to go back to the East Coast for a visit before they come at the end of June, but at this point with starting a new job I just don't know when I can fit it in. I know it is only 2.5 more months, but it has been 2.5 months since I saw her last (and could hold her and kiss her and read to her) and I am having painful withdrawals! Luckily we both have webcams so I do get to see her and talk to her, but she seems more interested in my dog than me!

Happy Easter Everyone!

Life goes on....

March 19th, 2010 at 03:26 pm

Today was payday and along with my automatic deposit form was another check for 3 days of jury duty. I had completely forgotten about this after I had told my boss I didn't get paid, that was what 6-8 weeks ago? Anyway nice suprise.

I also called my comp carrier to find out what is going on with my shoulder claim and that I have not received any disability pay. I have been on half time for about 10 weeks.

My FIL fell Wednesday and ended up getting flown out of our area because we have no neurosurgeon coverage here. Luckily his "bleed" healed itself and he was discharged from the hospital the next day. DH had to drive to where he was flown and is driving his parents home tomorrow since his father needed to stay in the area another 48 hours just in case. He is 85 and stepped wrong off his tractor hauling horse manure to his garden!

However, now DH can go to Home Depot and take advantage of 26 cents brick type blocks for our garden edge and go to Trader Joe's and get some 2 Buck Chuck for cooking.

It's a warm beautiful day here on the North Coast of California, but the clouds are moving in tomorrow.

My tulips are in full bloom and there are bumble bees buzzing close to the ground driving my little Jack Russell nuts. I think he might be a little afraid of them!

I thought I had killed this peony last year, but it is almost ready to bloom.

And lastly, my Azalea is in full bloom. It is 1 year old.

Oops forgot to add, I added $1000.00 to my retirement funds today too.

The Ax Officially Fell

March 13th, 2010 at 08:16 am

Thurdsay meeting at noon in the admin conference room. Boss had to scramble. I contacted her on Tuesday and said I wanted to meet with her. Well she must have figured it out. The outsource HR person was on speaker phone during our meeting encouraging us to apply.

I was completely prepared for the meeting with my 4x6 card with my topics/questions to cover. A coworker who works at home who was at the meeting (I was not sure until I walked in what kind of meeting it was going to be) told me I was very prepared and calm with my questions/topics.

The only real issue I have other than the way this entire episode is being handled is that the HR person did not tell the truth about our flexible spending accounts. She said the money was gone on my date of termination (still yet undetermined). I said, "So you mean I have to submit all receipts by my termination date?" She said yes. That did not sound right to me so yesterday I called the administrator of the plan, which is also the administrator for our health insurance. She told me the facts correctly which are I have until 12/31/2010 to submit receipts/bills. The medical expense must be INCURRED by my termination date.

Another interesting little tidbit. I can spend up to my entire years election, not just what has been taken out of my check so far. So 3/23 I have a female exam, 3/24 I have a vision exam and 3/25 I have a dental exam. I am going to get new classes, contact for a year and then buy as much over-the-counter stuff as I can. I called in a bunch of drug refills even though I don't need them yet. Why wait to run out??

On the other hand I am almost assured of getting on with the new company (coworker heard doctor I mainly transcribe for tell the COO he wants me doing his work with the new company) and will be working from home again. Yippee!! After working "in-house" at the hospital for 15 months, I am definitely ready to go back home. Also I am paid by production so that I can get up and stretch and take a walk and load the dishwasher and throw clothes in the washer, etc. The level of lines to produce to be considered full-time with benefits is very reasonable and I know I can produce enough after I am used to the new software in 4-6 hours depending on the dictator. So all in all I am going to be much happier.

However, my focus on food has slipped over the past few weeks, probably because I have been waiting to find out what is going on with my job. Also I was surfing food sites and blogs much more last month and I think I was so inspired by all the cheap foodie blogs out there. Not that I have been spending, we have just not been enjoying our food as much. Time to get back into that and being creatively frugal. Just last week we bought those new baby heads of lettuce at costco and we have not used one head!! Because we are out of salad dressing and let's face it I can't make basil ranch dressing like Tomaso's can. So this morning I am running to town to get some milk and half and half at Costco, then over to Winco to get a few things including Tomaso's basal ranch dressing where it is the cheapest in the area.

All of my homemade bread, cookies and muffins are gone, finished off Thursday so I am going to do some baking today and tomorrow. Now that I know bread slices just like commercial when it is completely cool, I cannot stand the thought of paying $3.00 for a loaf of bread or $2.59 or whatever the double pack at Costco is. We do not eat that much bread so a homemade loaf lasted a while in the freezer.

Lastly DH caught a ride to Reno with MD's SI to pick up from our oldest daughter his truck. He will be gone a few more days, stopping in on one of our business to see how things are going. He filled 3 Rubbermaid large containers with wood so I could keep the fireplace insert going with a warm fire.

Oh and lastly, I upped the speed of my internet for $10.00 more a month to fastest possible and received a card in the mail (I completely forgot about) to get a prepaid $20.00 Visa.

Time to get up and get my frugal day started.

Oh I almost forgot! 5dollardinners.com has a garden form to keep track of when and what you planted. I know smart Excel people can make these up themselves, but I am not one of those smart people! I printed one out and already have my lettuce I started about 10 days ago to put immediately on the form.

Happy Daylight Savings weekend!

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