Friday, March 31, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

March.  Man, March. Traditionally this month has kind of sucked for me (don't know why, but it's just the way it is), but this month has tried to break some records.

First an update on Shani.  She got her second opinion.  Turns out she doesn't have colon cancer.  She instead has neuro endocrine cancer.  Stage 4 was correct, though.  It's a very rare form of cancer with a very short life expectancy.  She went in earlier in the week and had the obviously destroyed part of her colon removed so she could at least eat again and is, if the infection in her incision clears up quickly, going out of state to probably Texas to put up as much of a fight as she can against the cancer at a cancer center there.  Thank you all for your prayers.  They are helping her mood if nothing else.

I'm not sure if we're going to get to make soap before she leaves for treatment, as time is of the essence if she wants to even try to fight this cancer, but we'll see how the weekend goes.

I put in calls to everywhere trying to find my son a speech therapist in the Valley and am having 100% no luck.  Lots of waiting lists when I can get a hold of someone, but no speech therapists calling me back for the most part.  I'm going to continue to call and see what I can find, but I might end up paying the literacy center for their program just to keep my son in some type of therapy here.  Depressing to say the least.

The icing on the cake on my week was finding out from a neighbor that our Community Council, with no input from anyone in the area if they wanted to it or not, decided to okay putting in a heroin treatment center in my neighborhood.  More specifically in my back yard.  With easy access to four schools in the immediate area, lots of homes with young children, including MINE, and no access to any services that addicts might need near by (like say, oh, a hospital), but not far enough away from things like drugs to do addicts any good in THAT way either.  Great location for one of these to go in (sarcasm gets me through sometimes).  So, now all of us in the area are going to have to fight this from going in.  If it passes I'm going to seriously have to look at moving pretty darned quickly before my property values tank so much I can't sell or, worse, my kids run into weird people in my yard or other things I don't need them exposed to. 

Oh and top that off  with March deciding it was going to go out like an ex that just doesn't catch the hint (seen up top).  After 28 days of decently dry weather, our thoughts turned to Spring.  But, nope, darned March anyway.  Snow this week which would melt during the day and turn to ice under the snow, with our road not getting plowed, it just made getting off the road onto the main drag really difficult. Then having to pick up the kids early a lot this week because my daughter is growing and it's throwing her stomach condition into a tizzy.  And an IEP for my son, which are always fun because you walk away with a list of all of your child's shortcomings and you feel like you are the worst parent ever in the creation of time. 

I'm fatigued on levels that I forgot I had.  I feel like I've just been hunkered in a foxhole this week with bombs exploding all around me.  I just...ugh.  You know ever since I was a child and things were always so stressful with my parent's marriage and then the divorce and everything that went with it, all I ever wished for was a nice, boring and predictable life.  And the Good Lord has seen fit to turn that on it's head my entire life.  I'm kind of tired of it.  I want boring and predictable.  SO, SO badly!

Anyway *shakes head to help clear mood* there were some money saving things that happened this week, so let's focus on those instead of the black cloud of "blahhhhhhh" that hangs over everything right now, shall we?
1.  My biggest, super hugest, most awesome score of the week was on the shopping front.  I did my shopping at Carrs just because they had sales on things we normally buy this week.  I went online, like I always do, and loaded my personalized deals and coupons onto my card before I went and was shocked when I saw a personalized price of 1.86 lb on lamb rib chops or roasts.   I was like, "Nah, those are normally 14.00 lb, there's NO WAY that they are actually giving me 1.86 lb on those (I was wrong by the way, it was 12.99 lb normal price)." 

So, I went to the store, got the few groceries I needed (our usual stuff, Doritos and the like for the son and such) and headed over to the meat section.  And I scored pay dirt!  They had lamb rib roasts marked down 30 to 50% off!  I looked at the prices on them and flinched, worried that the personalized price per pound wasn't going to work (I mean when you are staring at a roast that has a 30.00 price tag on it for a teeny, in portion to the price, little bit of meat, you tend to get nervous), but I still loaded up my cart with the roasts they had on clearance, which was a total of 10.  I got up to the register and explained the personalized price thing to the cashier and asked him to do a trial run with the first roast and he even said, "There's no way that is right.  They had to have given the wrong explanation on the coupon." I completely agreed with him, but was curious to see if it actually worked.  And I watched the price on the roast go down to 3.00 when he hit total down from around 30.00!!!    The sub-total started at well over 300.00 for the order.  After the personalized price and discounts were taken off?  40.00 for everything!!!  Boo to the yahhh!!!!

I went back today to see if they had any more roasts (I had to pick up a prescription I forgot yesterday), but struck out.  But, yay for having lamb in the freezer.  I feel like "The Galloping Gourmet" with the "fancy" lamb in my freezer.  This is the first time EVER I've had lamb rib anything in the house as I'm too cheap to buy something like that *laugh*.

2.  I started looking up different soap recipes to see if I could find a couple for Shani to choose from when she came over to make soap.  Since I was looking for soap not made with castor oil, I hit a bunch of different free books on Amazon to see what I could find.  I didn't find anything in the books, but hey, at least they were free to read.  I found a couple of recipes online, though, so that was a good, free way to find some recipes.

3.  Instead of buying aluminum foil from Amazon, I found a sale at Carrs on aluminum foil this week and was able to use a coupon I had to get it for 1.00 less than Amazon.  It's the store brand vs. Reynolds, but I'm willing to deal with it for the sake of saving a dollar at this point.

4.  I melted the end of my shoe lace to stop it from fraying and driving me crazy instead of going out and trying to buy a new pair of shoe laces.  It worked great and will hopefully extend the life of my shoe laces (the cat got a hold of the end and unraveled it last week).

5.  I mended a hole in a comforter this week.

6.  I gutted part of my freezer and reorganized it.  This allowed me to not only stop things from dropping on my feet at a moment's notice, but also gave me a good idea of what needed to be used up on those shelves.  I'm planning on doing more of that in the coming weeks to make sure that nothing goes to waste.

7.  I fixed a few of my daughter's toys with super glue this week.

8.  I double checked to make sure all of the heaters in the house were off and found one of the electric baseboards downstairs was turned on, low but it was on.  I had forgotten that I turned it on a while ago when Shani was over because she was cold (she did home speech therapy with us) and I figured it would be quieter than having the forced air running if I just ran the electric heat.  I can IMAGINE what leaving that on did to my electric bill the last bit, but I'm glad I am paranoid and checked so it got turned off.  Kind of cutting off the bleeding at that point, but better than nothing!

9.  My son ran his teeth over a DVD and I was able to repair it so we didn't need to replace it.  Yay for DVD repair kits!  We've had the same one forever and I just buy a refill, which is getting harder and harder to find, when needed.  It doesn't save all DVD's that get injured, by any stretch but even one save pays for the refill kit.

10.  I listened to a bunch of different music for free through YouTube and Amazon Prime this week as I did housework.  I love being able to carry around my tablet and play music while I work. 

And there you are folks.  Some of my frugal adventures this week.  How did you do?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Menu Plan Monday: This Week's Menu Plan

I swear with how life has been going, I need to start a new calendar system.  The, "Darn it, I REALLY wanted to do this on the right day, but have yet been able to do it!" calendar.  Although, I might have to work on a shorter title *laugh*.

First, I just want to thank everyone who has sent prayers for Shani.  She spent all weekend in Anchorage admitted to the hospital there to get a second opinion on her condition.  After loads of tests, but as of yet no answers or opinions, she's getting discharged today.  At this point we still don't know what the future holds, but she was very touched when I told her of all of the people praying for her and she asked that I tell everyone, "thank you" for her.  I'll keep you all updated as we know more.

I spent the last two days on the phone with various therapists trying to find openings.  Even our old OT is double booked right now, so I was quickly losing hope of having Alvah in any type of therapy here soon and getting desperate of him losing skills and things once school was over for the summer.  My sister-in-law had been sending one of her boys to a literacy center and highly recommended them as they had done wonders for her son, so I called them and got really excited when they started explaining their program for lower communication functioning kids to try and help them learn to talk (she's worked with severely autistic children before and had a lot of good luck with the system).  And better yet they have openings!  Then I found out that they don't take insurance and at 65.00 per session...that could be a problem with our budget right now, even though I'd love to see how the program worked on the son unit. 

When I explained our financial situation to the nice woman, turns out she knows a speech therapist (a good friend of hers) who takes insurance, has a REALLY good reputation (I had heard of her through the grapevine, but could never find anyone who had a number to reach her as she'd moved to the Valley from Anchorage a couple of years ago) and could be brow beat...errrr...persuaded, to probably take Alvah on as a new patient (her words, not mine *laugh*).  She called back today and gave me the gal's number as she might have an opening as early as next week but the most we'd have to wait is until summer, so I called and left a message.  Here's hoping. 

At this point, I might still try and wrestle money from our meager budget to get the son in with the literacy center a couple of times a month as a supplement to speech therapy to try him out on their system too, but I have to sit down and seriously crunch numbers to figure out how to make that happen.  Bright side is that at least the electric bill will start going down here with summer coming and the sun coming back, which will be a welcome relief on the budget (400.00 a month during the winter for electric between lights and heat just kills you).  Once next winter hits...I'm not sure how that will go, but at least by that time we'll HOPEFULLY be well entrenched at the new job and we'll have a good hold on where our finances are (what a wonderful thought :), so I'll have time to plan for things.

So, anyway, man I'm busy. plan for this week!  The last couple of weeks it's been a true miracle we've eaten, really.  I was so sick week before last and then last week was just so...much...that we ate out more than we wanted to and just felt good to have survived everything, really.  So, this week I was determined to get back on track and work on getting meals planned out.  I'm using easy meals, ones that I can make ahead (like chicken salad) for eating later or something I can stick in the crock pot and let go, etc.  This is mainly to make sure that I am free to handle the kids so that my husband can go out and work on building the chicken coop (he managed to buy material this weekend and that was it), preferably before the rain starts moving in this weekend (sounds like, from the weather report, we'll be making soap in the garage this weekend.  The husband will be thrilled *laugh* really stink up the place when you make soap).

Menu for Week of 3/27/17
Monday:  Fried Chicken, salad

Tuesday:  French dips (beef roast cooked in crock pot), fruit cocktail, tater tots

Wednesday:  Chicken salad sandwiches (use leftover chicken from Sunday, canned grapes from pantry, pecans from freezer)

Thursday:  French toast, sausage patties, canned pears

Friday:  Smothered pork chops (crock pot), mashed potatoes, green beans

Saturday:  Pho Beef dish (crock pot) with rice noodles and various veggies (from freezer)

Sunday:  Tacos with Spanish rice and refried beans (make those in pressure cooker)

To Bake:  Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, brownies (Sunday for daughter's lunches next week for treats)

And there you are folks.  Our menu, and quick update, for today.  How about you?  Making anything good this week?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Well, as weeks go, believe it or not, despite everything that went on, money saving things got done.

1.  I got my shopping done at Carrs last week as they had the best sales and while there I picked up the freebies I'd gotten from the week before with the Monopoly game (seen up top).  The highlights of shopping last week were getting aluminum foil for 3.00 for 75 ft (I'm desperately low on it and I use it all the time).  I picked up a container of the super long heavy duty foil and got my free 25 feet container on top of one I had already won a few weeks prior.  I've been nursing aluminum foil along like you would not believe because the price on the stuff made me flinch.  I normally buy the HUGE roll of aluminum foil from the bulk store, but what they wanted for it was way more than I wanted to pay, so I got the on sale foil from Carrs and then priced out things and found Amazon had the 200 ft rolls the cheapest (and Reynolds wrap to boot), so I ordered a few of those on Subscribe and Save for next month, which will hopefully last me a couple of years.

I went a bit over budget last week by 8.00 after replenishing stores from the kids being home over break and things, but considering I was sick and still not feeling great on and off when I went shopping and everything else that happened, I thought overall I did alright.  

2.  I met up with a friend of mine who offered me a waterproof mattress protector she wasn't going to use.  Not only did I get a mattress protector out of the deal, but I also got something way more precious, which was a chance to talk to a friend I don't get to see too often (thanks for the protector, Davina :).

3.  I went to Fred Meyer today (okay, so TECHNICALLY this is on another week, but I'm counting it anyway) and went looking for coconut oil to make soap this weekend.  I found REALLY expensive stuff in the organic foods section (they were out of anything affordable) and I decided to swing by the cooking oil section to see if they had anything there.  And voila!  I found affordable coconut oil.  Woohoo!  While there I also got my free thing of Tostitos salsa and my free cup-o'-noodles (which I ate for lunch...they are as "meh" as I remember them being from when I was in college).

4.  My mother-in-law went to a local thrift store that is changing ownership soon and found that they had a bunch of things on heavy liquidation sales in preparation of the transition.  While checking out buying some bikes my mother-in-law and the owner (who is really nice) talked a bit and the owner gave my mother-in-law some bags of freebies, some of which were clothes that would fit my daughter or are a couple sizes too big, so my mother-in-law dropped them off over the weekend as kind of a "surprise" type of gift.  Some went into storage for later and the rest went into the daughter's dresser today.  She even got a free box full of Hello Kitty activities, which she is thoroughly enjoying (thanks for sharing that stuff, Stacey!).

5.  I have been loving on my bigger crock pot I found at the used store a while ago (it's a six quart one), but the plastic that the thing is made with for the handle and things is...I don't know...sub-par or something as it gets really soft feeling when the crock pot is on.  I went to pick it up the other day and was worried that the lid handle was going to come off in my hand and I noticed a LOT of cracks in all of the plastic on the crock pot.  I went online on Amazon in search of a newer crock pot (this one was from the early 90's and while later ones were recalled, I couldn't find anything as old as mine to see if it was recalled or not) to be safe and found one that was on sale (after much searching) for 24.00.  Way cheaper than the stores for that size, so I was happy (I'd be even happier if they'd ship it *grumble*).  Bright side, too, is that now I have a crock pot to make soap in this weekend as the low setting on my thrift store crock pot is nice and gentle, so should cook the soap without scorching it no problemo!

6.  I got an e-mail from Rifftrax about their Kickstarter campaign (Rifftrax is on of our big "splurge" items when we want to get new entertainment) and found that if you donated one dollar you would get 10.00 worth of shorts for free as the opening "bonus" thingie that you'd unlock.  I had found a dollar in the parking lot earlier in the day and took it to be a sign, so I donated the dollar to get 10.00 worth of stuff.  It was a completely self serving move on my part, but I'll be sorry about it later ;).

7.  I discovered, while searching for soap making supplies around here that somewhere throughout the last couple of years my castor oil has somehow disappeared into the abyss of "who knows where".  Instead of going and spending probably 9.00 on a new container of castor oil at our local herb shop, I looked around on the internet and found a soap recipe that didn't contain castor oil.  Problem solved!

8.  We desperately needed a new garage door opener remote as the old one would stick and randomly make the garage door possessed or we'd be sitting in the driveway for a good five minutes trying to get the door to open or close.  It finally got bad enough we had finally had enough.  We went to Sears to see about getting a new one and found the one we needed for 50.00.  We flinched but knew we needed it so I grabbed it.  I actually had checked out when my husband came up and took me back to where some clearance items were hidden in the back of the tool section and we found one that had been opened for 14.99!  I returned the new one for the opened one.  It works great and it feels good having saved 35.00 off the new price!

So, there you go folks.  Some of my frugal adventures for the week.  How did you do?

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Cosmic Yo-Yo Week

Frugal Friday has been interrupted by my week.  I'll get back to the regularly scheduled program here probably tomorrow and do a recap, but this, I felt, deserved it's own post away from saving money and everything that goes with it.

There are weeks that you feel like the world is your oyster, things go great and you feel like the universe is in your corner.  There are weeks that you feel like things couldn't get worse and then they do.  This is like a week where I hit both extremes within the week. 

I took the above picture of Belkar at the vets getting her booster shots.  She started by burying her head in the corner of the carrier into the towel, pretending like things weren't happening and then when she realized things got real, she quickly grabbed the towel with her paw, shot it aside and quickly fluffed and rearranged the towel so she was perfectly hidden under it.  I had to take the picture and send it to my husband as that was a first for me with a cat.

Wanting to hide under a blanket like bad things weren't going to happen is how I was yesterday.

The week started out with the above mentioned vet appointment, which went great, had no surprises and was easy overall.  My husband started feeling bad so he went to the doctor's the same day I took the cat to the vet (turns out he's just has a virus), but it at least turned out alright.

And then we got the call that my husband had gotten the job at the airport!  We're waiting on final okays from Juneau on allocating money for the position but as far as the airport guys are concerned the husband is in!  It's going to be less per hour then my husband is making now, which is a worry in the back of my mind, but I'm determined to make it work as this is the type of job he's always wanted as control work is the part of his job that he enjoys the most.  And hey, benefits!

And then yesterday happened. 

A good friend is dying.  Stage 4 colon cancer.

Not only is she a good friend of mine, she's also Alvah's speech therapist. 

I was, at first, baffled.  Shani has been having problems with her stomach since December.  First they thought she had a bowel blockage, and then they decided on Crohn's disease after a ton of tests and things and they had an appointment at the end of April to get a diseased part of her colon removed to make her more comfortable (and they assured her they were positive it WASN'T cancer) and get her back to "default" basically and she could just start her life with Crohn's.  We went from that to suddenly being in for surgery and then to stage 4 colon cancer with no chance of survival and they don't even know if she'll make it through the summer.

We have no idea how much time she has left.  She's getting a second opinion.  She's going to work as long as she can for not only income but to give people a chance to find another therapist. 

I felt like I'd been hit by a convoy of concrete trucks fully loaded.  I have a decent amount of casual friends, but good friends I can count on one hand and have a few fingers left over.  Shani is one of those friends.

Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day crying and calling on any spiritual network I had to pray for Shani (if anyone has a prayer chain or prayer list please add Shani Dean to it.  Thanks) in the hopes that the second opinion would come back better than the first opinion and maybe the Good Lord had a miracle lying around He could give her.  I have everything from three wards of the LDS Church, to St. Jude's ministry to a order of Buddhist nuns praying for her (my step-mom has connections as she's a minister).  It's the least I can do for Shani after everything she has done for so many people in the world...she is one of those people who would give you the shirt off her back before you even ask her for it, gives her services for free to those who can't afford it and other things.  She deserves the prayers.

I worked yesterday to try and wrestle control from an uncontrollable situation, thus prayer networks and things.  I talked to teachers to get my son into summer school this year so he'll have some type of therapy going, made a call and left a message with our old OT to see if I can get him in once a week there (I don't want him to be without any type of therapy as he could get used to NOT having therapy, which would be detrimental for sure).  I got names of speech therapists people had to give calls and see if I can find openings somewhere, but am not holding out much hope as therapists in the Valley are always booked solid with long wait lists...but maybe God will work to help us with that.  It was a really painful day, to say the least.

Today, I at least woke up with a better outlook, at least I hope I did and am determined to be there for Shani no matter how much time she might have left on this Earth.  A week or a year, it's the quality of the time, not the quantity that matters.  Every day we're gifted 24 hours and if you're lucky you can take advantage of those hours to do something that makes you happy.

Shani wanted to make soap this summer for the first time and was really looking forward to it.  We're doing it next weekend instead so I can be sure she can at least check that off of her "I want to do that" list.  Anything else I can do for her to make her time here's the least I can do.

Shani asked me to take her chickens (she's the friend with the coop) as she wanted her chickens to go to a good home (those are the chickens I chicken sat last year), so this weekend Clark is building a proper coop to house them.  I never even thought about budgets or anything when I said yes and I still don't worry about it.  We'll deal with it.  God will provide.

So, yeah, I didn't want to put this in a "Frugal Friday" just didn't seem right.  I'll go through all of that later once I sit down and tally everything, but I have to say as situational mood swings go...this has been a week.

Hug your friends and family close and seize the day, all.  You just never know.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Frugal Friday Goal Update Thingie Post

Right, so the subject line should cover it I guess.  I didn't get to either my goals update or my money saving weekly recap post over the weekend, so I figured I'd conglomerate the two today.

What happened you ask?

Well, Friday was just REALLY busy with errand running and things, but Friday night I woke up with my tonsils bugging me in the middle of the night.  I drank a bunch of water, gargled with some mouthwash and went back to bed.  Saturday I woke up not feeling too great, but I tried hard to get stuff done in between gargling with salt water, apple cider vinegar shots and even gargling with rum (I'm not a big fan of hard alcohol, but in this case it was necessary) to try and keep my tonsils down.  See, I recognized the early signs of what turned out to be strep from last time, but this time I figured I had some advanced warning, so I was determined to fight.  Woke up in the middle of the night Saturday not being able to swallow past my tonsils really and realizing that I had, indeed lost.  One 300.00 trip to Urgent Care first thing on Sunday and a REALLY positive strep test and some penicillin to combat it, and I was officially shot.  I spent most of yesterday in bed feeling awful.

Today I'm a LITTLE better, although my throat hurts worse than it did yesterday, oddly enough.  But, yeah, I'm not thrilled to have strep for the second time in six months *scowl*.

Got Prince done with his follow up check up with the vet.  Great news is that his eye looks great (thank you, Lord) and I managed to get one of his two boosters done today as the pound didn't give him a leukemia vaccine (kind of blew my mind they didn't test for that at the pound with how quickly something like that would spread, but okay), so we got him tested and got that on board as well.  I have to take him in ONE more time next month just to get the leukemia booster and that's done.  Got Belkar's follow up tomorrow at the vet and her booster shot visit, so once those are done I can HOPEFULLY stop bleeding money here sometime soon.  Glad I didn't pay off Clark's dental bills or I'd have no money to do any of this, but I was HOPING to save some of it, darn it!

Right so a quick recap of things I got done last week.  I managed to barely keep on top of the housework with my son and daughter home for the week, got my daughter's room cleaned out and reorganized to a point, got the den mucked out a bunch and the cardboard that we'd been accumulating sorted into different boxes to recycle and...yeah...that's about it.  I didn't get much done on my list (well nothing really), but I did get some embroidery ideas drawn out on paper to transfer to material, so at least I got that far.  I also sat down and started researching seeds and ordered a bunch, including some from Denali Seed Company as they have seeds that are rated for Alaska or even developed to grow here.  They even have CORN that will grow up here.  I was thrilled and ordered some of that too :).

My husband and I sat down and tallied up expenses and expenses we need to do yet this year and finally decided this was NOT the year to consider getting chickens as we figure if there is an area we want to put our money into this year it isn't going to be getting feed and things for chickens and building up a proper insulated area/coop to keep chickens for winter, not to mention our labor.  No, if we're going to put money into something we want it to be put into expanding the garden.  My friend works constantly, but also has tons of organic seeds, so she said if she could grow things here (basically if I take care of the plants for her) she'd give me not only a portion of the booty and some of the seeds (since all of hers are open pollinating varieties), but she'd also provide the seed as well, so I'm curious to see what she is going to have that I might not.  I might talk to her about maybe me putting a little money into a chicken concern with her for a portion of the eggs and meat (she HAS a coop), but that will have to wait for later this week :).

My husband got another interview, this time with the airport for the job he REALLY wanted, so if you could send a prayer for him that would be great.  He had the interview earlier today.  Man, I hope he gets this one as I've never seen him this excited over a job before.

So, yeah, let's get into the "Frugal Friday" portion of the post shall we?

1.  I got my son a mattress (seen up top).  We went around everywhere we could local and found NOTHING that was the least affordable/in our price range, so I ordered one from  I ordered it the same day I ordered the bed frame from Amazon (saved me 40.00 shipping finding one on Amazon that would ship up here) and the mattress beat the frame by a good four days.  Go on that one!  All totaled between the mattress (154.00 shipped) and the bed frame (60.00 shipped) I spent about 200.00 for a new bed for the son.  Not bad I'd say.

Now I need to invest another 35.00 or so and get a second in-good-condition mattress protector for his new mattress so he doesn't wreck the memory foam spilling things on it.

2.  As I said, I ordered seeds.  I ordered most of the seeds from Denali seed company which I found really reasonable in price.  Most seeds cost me about 1.79 or so per packet.  I also ordered a few seeds from Territorial Seed Company.  The main thing I wanted from them was a type of pea that only takes 30 days to grow before you can harvest it.  That's my type of growing season for up here :).  Territorial definitely cost me more in shipping too, but overall I spent about 30.00 on different kinds of seeds from both companies and will have a wide variety of plants to choose from to grow in the garden.  Yay!!!

3.  We went to a location each day last week to get the kids out of the house as part of Spring Break.  It was super nasty windy most of the week, so we went to different stores for the most part.  We tried to stick to stores where we had gift cards to keep spending down and it worked.  Some stores we didn't even spend any money in.

4.  Grocery shopping was done primarily at Carrs this week, although I did stop off at Fred Meyer (one of our "field trips" with the kids one night) and get a few things and my Freebie Friday V-8 Energy drink.

At Carrs I combined sales, E-Coupons and printed coupons from the Monopoly game to get items for as cheap as possible and spent a total of 70.00 and that was also getting a corned beef and satellite items that I normally wouldn't buy, so I felt pretty good about that.  I got my free aluminum foil (JUST in time as I ran out the day I picked it up!) and my free salt while I was there as well.

The gal who was checking out in front of me also had an autistic child and we struck up a conversation and had a good time chatting while she was getting checked out.  She had a huge cart of groceries and asked if I'd like her Monopoly tickets since she wasn't playing the game and I said sure.  Between her tickets and mine I got out of the store with like 70 tickets *laugh*.  I got a few freebies coupons out of the tickets, but for the life of me the freebies are escaping me right now...still not feeling great.

5.  The highlight of meals this last week was definitely the day that I made chicken a la orange in the crock pot and a home made cheesecake from scratch.  Everything I used (orange marmalade, cherry preserves, home made Russian dressing, onions and parsley I dehydrated, etc) with the exception of bare bones basic ingredients I had put up or made myself, including the graham cracker crust for the cheesecake (and of course the filling and topping *laugh*).  The family was actually REALLY happy with the meal too, so that was definitely an awesome feeling.

6.  Since I was feeling pretty ucky today I put dinner in the crock pot during a "good feeling" moment and voila!  Dinner will be ready when my husband gets home from Anchorage and we won't have to eat out.  Always a good feeling.

7.  I cancelled Netflix this week.  My husband and I sat down and figured it all out and we came to realize that we just plain don't use it enough to justify the cost.  We plan to see what we can watch for free through Amazon Prime and then from there look at other free resources on the Internet to watch things.  That will save us about 12.00 per month.  Not a "wow" type of savings, but a savings none the less.

There was more to report, but my brain is fried and my throat feels awful right now, so I'm going to call it good for now.  Goals for this week are to feel better and see if I can get my son's new bed put together, get things rearranged otherwise to work for the time being in his room (his race car bed frame barely made it UP the stairs when we moved in...I should know as I moved it by it's going OUT the front door if it's going out and with the amount of snow outside might be sitting in the son's bedroom for a bit, so I need to figure all of that out).  I would also LIKE to get started on some of my embroidery and other crafty type of projects if my health will let me.  Here's hoping.

So, there is my week in a nutshell.  How did you all do?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

 Despite it being super busy, super chaotic and in some cases kind of depressing, I got stuff done this week!

One thing that happened was that we got word on the one job that my husband had an inside track on...he didn't get it.  They hired another guy who was older, had more experience and was certified as a boiler tech (which my husband is not).  So, that was depressing.

Yesterday my children were REALLY lucky that they are cute and that I love them as it was one of those days where they go to bed, finally, and you just think, "Right, let's hope tomorrow is better."  I spent all day fighting with my daughter about EVERYTHING, primarily cleaning her room, and her brother was a swath of destruction from the moment he got up until the moment he went to bed.  I had plans to bake yesterday and kind of a have a fun day.  Nope.  Ended up having to tear my son's bed apart after he had dumped an entire thing of milk all over it and while the waterproof cover was in the wash he dumped an entire can of soda on his mattress.  Oh yeah.  So, I ended up having to rip his bed completely apart to deep clean everything, dragged his mattress out to the living room and shampooed it with a combo of vinegar and water to get the soda out of it and disinfect it.  And then we had to drag a temporary mattress upstairs for my son to sleep on in the meantime while his mattress dried over the next couple of days (luckily it's sunny today, so we're making progress there).

While cleaning his mattress and bed I came to realize EXACTLY how bad of shape both his bed and mattress were in.  Basically he's managed to toast a mattress completely and it's not even a year old.  There are dips in the mattress that should not be there, you can hear broken bits of metal jingle in the mattress when you move it, etc and the race car bed frame (which is just pressure fitted heavy duty plastic) is starting to show some stress from all the years of bouncing on it.  It's time to get the son an adult bed that moves easily on a wheeled metal frame, preferably a memory foam mattress that he can't break springs in maybe, so I've been calling around today getting prices.  I'm not sure what we'll end up with, but I'm done with our current system as it's just NOT working and I can't imagine sleeping on that bed is even comfortable at this point.  So, more money to be spent.  BLAH!!!!!!

But, yeah, at least his mattress is nice and clean for the time being.

And we ended up with a son who toasted the back of my car with stomach issues as a result of his sinuses getting to him, so I got to shampoo that and clean up his car seat, wash his jacket and things as well and we took him to the doctor over the weekend to make sure he wasn't fighting a sinus infection (ran a low grade fever after the car incident).  So far the answer from the experts was no and he seems to be feeling better, so hopefully he's over the hump now.

So, onto what I've been up to on the more "normal side" since late last week!

I got my kitchen cleaned out and reclaimed a bunch of counter space.  I have a small bookcase over behind my deck door where I was keeping a few appliances (crock pots, Sodastream and rice cooker) and I decided to clean off the other "things" that I had on the shelf (like some flours) and move them to another location and then make the shelf into an out and out appliance holder.  So, my mixer and toaster got moved to the shelf and then I got rid of things I didn't need, stacked some baking containers up (love Tupperware at moments like this) and moved my silverware holder and phone to the top of my bread box on the microwave.  And voila!  I think I tripled my counter space doing that, which with how little counter space I HAVE, that speaks volumes.

Here's a shot before that I took a while back...

And here's the after...

I still have a few things I want to find a better system for (like my sponges and things that I use for dishes), but for the most part, I'm happy with things so far.

The floors got scrubbed as well.  My daughter can take credit for doing them the first time with me having to do a lot of touch up work when she was done (it was her first time using a mop instead of doing the floors with a scrub brush...she normally likes playing Cinderella with the scrub brush when she volunteers to do the floors, but this time she wanted to use the mop).  But, hey it got done.

The recliner in the bedroom got cleaned off as well and the multitudes of blankets and sheets that were stacked on it got put away (do NOT ask to see my closet, though, as I refuse on the grounds of it's hidden with the door shut so it's fine), which is a step in the right direction.  I would have taken a picture, but I have a TON of laundry that is in the process of getting folded around where the recliner is and I didn't want to have to stage a photo to take a picture of it.

I didn't get the cat carrier deep cleaned, but did get it cleaned up enough to put away in time to pull it out again for the cats follow up visits next week.

And I did get a nap in.  It was short, but it was a nap :).

Overall, for a change, I got pretty much everything I'd put on my goals list accomplished this week.  Booyah!!!

So, onto this week's goals.  I'm just going to lump them together for simplicity's sake since I have both kids home this week on Spring Break and this post has, thus far, taken me nearly three hours to write.

Goals for the Week!
  • Get some of the carpets shampooed.
  • Dust as much as I can find time for.
  • Clean windows (now that it's getting lighter the windows are bugging me)
  • Finish menu plan for the next couple of weeks (I'm behind)
  • Finish folding laundry and put it away in the proper locations
  • Try to rest arm as much as possible (between running the shampooer on the mattress yesterday, NOT EASY, and having to help my daughter clean her room, my arm is making the entire left side of my body hurt today...not fun)
  • Sketch out embroidery ideas (I'm determined to get SOMETHING accomplished in the way of embroidery projects might have to wait till next week, but I'm hoping to get a few things accomplished this week)
  • Start quilt (new quilt idea I ran into that I'm going to start working on slowly but surely that uses fabric scraps but isn't time kind of project)
And there you go folks.  My goals for the week.  How about you?  Up to anything?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Hey, look!  Frugal Friday is actually getting posted ON Friday!  What a novel idea!  *Laugh*

I am so tired today it is kind of a mini-miracle this is getting posted.  My son has been battling the dry air and sinus problems from said dry air, so he's been getting bloody noses on and off (I had the doctor check him out at his physical JUST to be safe) and NOTHING makes him crankier than not being able to breath out his nose, except maybe getting a bloody nose.  So, yeah, he's not been a happy camper today.  On top of that I slept like crap due to my arm hurting all night.  Not the ideal sleeping situation.  I think a lot of the arm hurting is due to the sudden changes in weather we've had.  We went from 50 miles per hour winds yesterday to the temperature suddenly going up and the winds dying down.  The weather this year has changed on a dime and it's really playing havoc with anyone who has any type of "ow my body hurts" type of condition.  Turns out bicep tendonitis falls into the "ow my body hurts" category.

Bright side, Ibuprofen has allowed me to function and has kept the majority of the migraines from pinched nerves in the shoulders at bay.

This week was a pretty good one on the money saving front (in some ways), so let's get to that!

1.  There were some frugal fails this week.

The big frugal fail for this week was definitely the vet bills, but at least the cats are feeling better and running around the house like maniacs, so I feel good about that.  And I guess I should feel pretty good about being able to get the cats into the vet when needed so that their conditions didn't get worse and cost me MORE money or worse get to a point where I'd have to put another pet down.

The other frugal fail, which was kind of annoying, was the payments I've been slapping onto the Care Credit as much as I could this month.  I took anything that might be left on the paychecks and was sinking it onto my husband's Care Credit after making sure to pay the actual payment early, figuring that the money would get taken off both his dental bill and the daughter's braces (both on the same card) equally, but nooooo where last time I did this they took equal amounts off both things that were due even when they assured me that any extra money would go to the amount due first, this time they actually DID take off the full amounts of money I paid in off of my daughter's braces (due to expire the month before my husband's bigger dental bill).  So, I decided I wasn't going to mess around with that today so I called and paid the final 500.00 off of my daughter's braces.  This SHOULD net me another 122.00 a month paying off the bill, which I'm hoping to roll right over onto the husband's dental bill along with every other available penny to get that bill paid off ASAP. 

I'm working really hard at saving as much money as possible and just working on paying off bills as quickly as I can.  I figure if my husband DOES get a new job here, that we're going to need as few bills as possible and also he's set to get his last two teeth capped here soon so I want to make sure I'm as far ahead as possible to help adapt to that bill when it starts coming in.

2.  Grocery shopping this week went really well, although I did go over my normal grocery budget.  But I had a good reason.  Meat!

I went to the store to pick up a few things at Carrs that I'd won with the Monopoly game.  While picking up the rotisserie chicken and the free potato salad, I stopped by and checked out the discount meat and was THRILLED when I did!  We'd been running low on chicken (believe it or not) and I found big value packs of boneless skinless chicken thighs for 4.00 about a package as they were reduced 50% off!  I got all but the last two packs.  I would have gotten all of them, but there was a woman who stood patiently behind me holding a meat juice catcher bag (or whatever they are called) looking hopeful, so I decided to leave a few behind for her.  I never let a boneless skinless chicken breast do the job a thigh can do (we're dark meat eaters around here), so I was super thrilled at the quantity and price I got the thighs for (seen up top).

The thighs were still frozen, so I just put them into the freezer in their current containers and I'll chisel off the thighs as needed and transfer them into freezer bags.  It seemed better than defrosting and refreezing the meat.

I also went to the store this week and cashed in the free items I'd won in the way of actual groceries at Carrs.  The best freebie I got, by far, was the 32 oz thing of shredded cheese.  It came in really handy for taco night this week and will last for many more meals, so woohoo for that!

I also got a free yogurt, free Barilla pasta sauce (I got their new cream style Alfredo to try), a free box of pasta, a free donut (which ended up being lunch one day when I was running around like a maniac from one appointment to another) and a free 7 day pill box reminder (which I've been using to remind me on cat meds, believe it or not).  In my tickets this week I got a coupon for a free container of salt and a free thing of aluminum foil (which I desperately need).  Yay Monopoly (and big thanks to the nice people who aren't playing it and keep giving me their tickets when they are ahead of me in line :).

4.  I went to Fred Meyer and got my free Lindt chocolate egg and my free Chips Ahoy Thins freebies this week too from the Freebie Friday giveaways. 

5.  I got my son's paperwork FINALLY filled out and sent in to Special Olympics today.  Yay for free swimming lessons!

6.  I used a Amazon gift card to purchase coffee this week.  I've been ordering "Chock Full O' Nuts" coffee for like a year now and I have loved it because it didn't get to my stomach (cheap coffee, I've found over the years, kills me, so I have to be selective in the coffee I drink), but Amazon decided that they aren't selling the bricks on Subscribe and Save anymore and they have all kinds of restrictions on how many bricks you can order and since it's an add on item you have to order 25.00 to place an order for it and blah blah blah.  I got really frustrated as the other ways they sell the coffee are really expensive, so I started looking and found a coffee from Italy that people swear is a low acid, smooth coffee and only takes 2 tsp per cup to make versus the usual 2 TBS, so I ordered that instead.  IF it works well and gets along with my gut, I can see it being WAY more cost effective to buy as it takes so much less coffee to make one cup compared to my previous brand. 

7.  I clipped the cats claws this week.  I do this whenever the cats need it and was curious to see how Prince would take it.  He squirmed a bit, but overall he's the NICEST cat I've ever had when it came to doing that chore, which was good as his claws were kind of a mess...I don't think he's ever had his claws clipped before so there was cracks and things that I'm going to have to watch and make sure they grow out right.  Poor kitty.  By the way, I just use the finger nail clippers you would use on a human being to clip the cats claws.  I find my fingers know how to use them better than the special pet clippers and they work great.

By the way are my cats the only ones in the universe that as soon as you clip their claws they IMMEDIATELY run to a scratching post and start working on a new set of razor blades/claws?  I never see them run as fast to the scratching post as when I clip their claws *laugh*.

8.  I made cake for dessert this week using a cake mix I had on hand.  For my daughter's school snacks I dragged out the container of chocolate chip cookie bars I had in the freezer for her that I'd reserved the last time I made cookie bars a few months ago.  She was happy for the most part, although she said some of them were sort of dry, but she ate them!

Well, there we go.  Some of my frugal adventures this week.  How did you all do?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals (The REAAAALLLYYY Late Edition)

Yup, I'm posting up "weekly goals" on Thursday.  I'm that behind this week.  But, I have good reasons.

I had three appointments on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with an emergency walk in visit to the vet on top of it with Belkar.  She had been sneezing on and off for weeks, which I assumed was a reaction to the extreme dust coming off of the Arm and Hammer cat litter I made the mistake of getting (never doing that again).  Then she got her vaccinations and REALLY started sneezing to the point that she kept me up Monday night with sneezing and coughing fits.  That was enough for me to realize that she was getting pretty sick, so I ran her into the vet.  Diagnosis was an upper respiratory infection that decided to settle in completely after all of the stress in the house between Ginger dying, Prince moving in and getting shots and so forth (at least that was a good theory as she was fine in the congestion and lung department when I got her shots done).  I still feel guilty about that.  Poor cat.

On the flip side of that I feel like I've gotten a vein cut and am bleeding money.  With the name of "cats" attached.  The cats are making up for the fact that Ginger cost us a yearly visit for vaccination boosters at the vet and that was IT the entire time we owned her.  Blah!

Prince had his follow up on Monday.  Friday his good eye started watering and then a few hours later the infection was in both eyes.  I immediately put him back on what antibiotic ointment I had left for his eyes, which luckily lasted RIGHT up till his follow up on Monday.  The doctor did say the infection looked a lot better, but wasn't gone yet, so he gave Prince a antibiotic shot to last him a couple of weeks and more ointment.  If this doesn't clear up the infection we need to bring him in and get him tested for the cat herpes virus (like cold sore type herpes in humans) and potentially have to put him on an antiviral drug.  So, let us pray that the antibiotics work so I don't have to spend yet MORE money on cats.  Please?

Tuesday we went in and got my son's physical done for Special Olympics which went well overall.  I'm impressed more and more everyday how much better he is acting during doctor's visits and things.

And then yesterday we went to my son's eye doctor's appointment that my husband and I were dreading thinking that he would need glasses.   Nope!!!  Tee hee!  Actually the appointment went well and the doctor said that my son's near sightedness is actually getting better, so he might be able to self-regulate his eyes for quite a while if he keeps it up without needing glasses.  Woohoo!!!  That was a major upper to the week I'll tell you what!

And I actually did get something done this week as well, although I waited to post this and take pictures until I could actually get close to done (you'll notice the unwashed floor, which is on today's agenda).  I got the laundry room all reorganized.

So, let's take a tour!

First thing I did was gut the laundry room and get rid of things that I wasn't going to use.  Different laundry soaps that irritate my son's skin that I kept thinking I'd MAYBE use to wash mine and my husband's bedding, but never had the guts to try it for fear my son would roll up in our blankets are going to get donated to our local thrift store as they are nice enough to wash laundry before putting it out for people to buy.  I gave away the mixed dry cat food I had in a bucket and a big bag of Kit and Kaboodle because it didn't agree with Belkar and I didn't really want to feed it to Prince.  I went through and just weeded out anything that wasn't going to be used or had been thrown into the laundry room because I didn't know what to do with it.  Then I stacked the food storage/emergency food that I usually stuck in the corner of the laundry room and stacked it over behind the trashcan in an awkward area by my hot water heater (don't worry it's not NEAR the hot water heater as I know what a safe distance me my husband measured it to make sure I was within safety *laugh*).

I needed a place to store cat food for ages, but always just kind of stacked it wherever I could find room.  I knew that wasn't going to work with the food I was getting in and I have to feed the cats in separate dishes as Belkar hates the taste of Prince's probiotics that are added to his food (honestly it seems so does he as he keeps going and eating Belkar's food after eating a bit of his...grumble).  I decided to move the small shelf I'd placed by the china cabinet upstairs down into the laundry room to keep cat stuff organized.  The shelf by the china cabinet worked to help make my cooking life a bit easier, but my son was constantly stealing jars off of it to spin them (not cool with home canned goods!) and the shelf was just in the way enough that my son would run into here and there.  So, I decided I could part with it upstairs and move it into the laundry room. 

I placed it up against the standing freezer on the side where the door to the laundry room is.  Our laundry room has an accordion style door on it with a cat door cut into it, so you have to make sure you have room for the cats to get in and out for things you place against the freezer.  This worked fabulously!  I've now got all of their wet food in one place where I can easily see what I have (I found buying bulk cans on Amazon is a LOT cheaper than getting them from the store, so I got a lot with my mom's gift card :), I got Prince's toothbrush and toothpaste in a cup where it's easily accessible, have their bowls out and ready for the morning once I wash them after breakfast and everything.  It's wonderful having things in one place.  I'm OCD about organization when I can be as it makes life SO much easier in the long run, so this was a huge upper to my week :).
Next up is out into the main room, which is about the size of a coat closet (so it feels anyway).

The hamper is a bit crowded in front of the washing machine, but it's there.  The five gallon buckets house cat supplies too.  The bottom one currently is holding what little bit of the 40 lb bag of scoopable cat litter I got from Amazon after I filled up the new cat box (more on that in a minute).  The top two buckets have the 22 lb bag of Purina One dry cat food that I bought on Amazon, which Prince likes and is helping to reduce his gingivitis a bit (teeth brushing will take care of the rest).  I did buy a small bag of Friskies to mix in with the Purina One cat food for Belkar as she's used to the Friskies and was rebelling on eating dry food because she didn't want the Purina One replacing her normal brand.  Mixing the two together seems to be working and her teeth are getting the plague off of them, so yay for a plan working!

Here is a closer shot of the cat box.  My love for this thing can not be understated!  It's only a couple of inches wider then a normal lidded cat box (I checked before I got rid of my old one), but this thing is just pure awesome!  It's got a HUGE interior to it, which is actually where the majority of the 40 lb bag of scoopable cat litter went was just to fill it up originally.  The inside doesn't have any funky corners or angles to it, so it's easy to scoop and the door on the front folds UP with the filter section so you can scoop the cat box without having to take the entire lid off the cat box!  And it's super well constructed.  This is one of the best investments I think I've made when it comes to the cats.  It keeps the litter pretty much contained, has a high back so the male cat doesn't have accidents and I'm just overly thrilled with a cat box.  Sad, but true *laugh*.

I got this box by the way (no associate link or anything, I'm just sharing here.  If you want to be nice and order through an associate link hit the link on the side of the blog to support us.  Thank you :).  I passed on the litter genie after thinking it over and am just making sure to keep the lidded trash can I have in the laundry room cleaned better and things.  I already HAD the lidded trash can in there and really the litter genie is just that, so I figured it wasn't worth wasting money on it (I used the money on the gift card for some Friskies canned food instead for Belkar as she likes to eat the gravy out of the food).

The other awesome thing I am glad I ordered was THESE.  My hatred for the litter mats they sell at the store can not be under stated.  I'd always get one to save the floors from tracked litter only to have a cat somehow get water on the mat, adhere cat litter to the water and you'd be sitting there trying to hose off the consistency of well set concrete from the mat, which would never work, so you'd end up with a mat that just generally looked crappy and that was IF the cats didn't try to jump over the mat all the time to avoid stepping on it and they'd get litter everywhere on TOP of the concrete problem.  And you wouldn't want to accidentally walk on it because the spikes coming out of those things is deadly to the bottom of the feet.

The new mats, though, are great.  They feel like a plastic-y carpet material more than spikes of doom and they catch the litter that does manage to come out of the cat box well.  I just pick them up at the end of the day and shake the litter back into the cat box and voila!  Clean!  And for 10.00 for two mats...that was not only a good price, but it worked out really well for the layout of the laundry room as I have to skirt the drain in the floor (I like to keep it open just in case).

And here's a shot of the other side of the cat box, or the "Prince feeding side" as I'm liking to call it.  The only way to keep Prince out of Belkar's food when I feed them in the morning is to feed them on opposite sides of the cat box, so I put a little feeding station with dry food for him and a little water dish (Belkar insists on drinking water out of a bowl in the bath tub...she learned from Ginger who was half feral when we originally got her and would never trust stagnant water, so I just end up dealing with it).  I am in love with non-slip bottoms on pet dishes by the way.  Best invention EVER!

And look!  I got the old scratching post in the laundry room too!  I need to rip off the rope on parts of it and redo it, but overall...the cat is still using it, so win win :).

I do still need to move the emergency water into the pantry, though, but overall...I'm making progress.

Now onto the rest of the goals for this week!

General Goals:

1.  Take a nap!  (Both kids are in school today and I have no vet appointments.  It's definitely time for a nap as the kids are off tomorrow and all next week)

2.  Clear off recliner in bedroom and continue to weed and organize the master bedroom.

3.  Work on getting the den cleaned out (it's become a catch all mess the last few weeks).

4.  Deep clean the cat carrier and put away for the time being (got a week before I have to worry about pulling it down again for follow up appointments and things).

5.  Mop the floors.

6.  Organize the kitchen better (I have the need for Spring cleaning and organization right now and I got an idea last night on how to maybe reclaim more counter space...want to see if it works).
And there you go folks.  My short, but lofty, goals for the rest of the week.  How about you?  Working on anything this week?

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

It's been a mixed week around here this week.  I took Belkar in for her vaccinations this week, the first time since she was a kitten that she got them done (lack of money primarily, and the fact that she has shown NO desire to really go outside her entire life) and well...she didn't take it well.  I don't think she had a bad reaction to the vaccinations so much as she was just REALLY upset and felt I had betrayed her by taking her to the vet and getting shots done.  So, she hid the first 48 hours, under my bed primarily, and wasn't big on eating and things until I forced her to do it.  She's finally back to normal, which is good since I was worried as all get out about her and was feeding her cat food about three times a day (she only likes to eat the gravy out of the wet food).  I think Prince gleefully gained about a pound this week just from taking advantage of my worried state to immediately inhale any food that was left over from Belkar eating just the gravy out of the cat food.

Sunday was the last day for Prince for his eye medicine and we were doing great most of the week until yesterday.  And his eye infection came back, this time in both eyes.  Since it's a virus and the vet warned me it might spread to both eyes or switch eyes, I wasn't overly surprised by it, but I was depressed as I was hoping that we could avoid having to go on anti-viral meds here and I think we're heading that way.  Bright side Prince has turned out to be a pretty good cat so far.  He's willing to play with us, purrs and will beg for pets and overall he's been in a lot better mood than Belkar all week.  Both cats were kind of irritated when they went back to normal cat food levels today *laugh*.

Then my son came home from school on Wednesday and immediately crashed with a 24 hour bug.  I ended up taking care of him all night with a low grade fever and things on his end (the poor kid was pretty miserable), but bright side with a TON of obsessive hand washing and sanitizing everything in sight I THINK I've managed to keep it from spreading.   Knock on wood anyway.

My husband also immediately heard back from one of the jobs he'd applied for (not the one he REALLY wants, but still a decent job) and they called him in immediately for an interview, so he had that on Friday.  And actually got the feedback that the interview had gone REALLY well, so he feels pretty good about that.  The only bad part of this job is that if he gets it my husband will be traveling on average three months out of the year, which could lead to a lot more challenges for me on the home front.  I'm kind of hoping God takes mercy on me and helps my husband gets the other job he really wants, but if this is meant to be it is meant to be and I'll just have faith that God knows what he's doing in all things.  Bright side is that if the job turns out to be too much after six months or so he can apply for another job and still have some seniority built up.  We'll see what happens.

And now onto the money saving things that happened this week!

1.  I went to Fred Meyer earlier in the week to get some cat food and found that the store was out of pretty much everything as the store was moving to a new location across the street and they'd moved pretty much everything by that point.  I managed to find a few flavors of cat food to try and see us through until the masses of cat food that I ordered came in from Amazon.  While there I stopped off to see if I could get the Chobani freebie as I knew that I wasn't going to be able to redeem it before it expired once the new store opened (there was NO WAY I was going near the store the first couple of days it was opened...not that motivated).  I found one flavor which actually sounded kind of good to me (seen up top).  I'm going to try it when my son isn't around because of the peanut cross contamination warning, but I think it might actually taste pretty good.

2.  The Safeway Monopoly game is actually being really nice to me this year! I won a free box of pasta and a free 32 oz bag of shredded cheese out of this week's tickets.  I really need to go through the huge pile of play pieces and see if I won anything bigger on the game board, but so far I'm just thrilled with the free food =D.

3.  I found that I needed a new cat box scooper and things (don't ask how that came to be known to me one morning...just don't *laugh*) and so my husband and I stopped off at a pet store that is actually rather close to where we live (I checked Fred Meyer and Carrs and were appalled at the prices they were charging for those things).  I also wanted to get the cats tags and collars as I found out that laws around here are getting stricter about things like that and I wanted to make sure that in the event Prince might make a break for it and wander outside this summer (since I'm not sure about his past patterns of behavior) that he was at least tagged with name and phone number. 

When we were checking out I happened to mention to the lady at the counter that we had adopted from the pound and she said that if we brought in our adoption papers that we were eligible to get 20% off of one order and a free tag for the new pet.  I blinked and dug in my pocket and brought out the adoption contract that was still in there and handed it to her.  See, not cleaning out your pockets can work out!  With the money we saved and the free tag we ended up getting basically a free collar and tag out of the trip.  I was happy :).

4.  I cashed in all of my swagbucks I'd worked really hard to earn and cashed in my Amazon Associate fees from like the last year (finally managed to get over the threshold!  Thanks to everyone who orders through my associate link!  I appreciate it!) and managed to cash out a welding helmet for my husband...sure it wasn't top of the line or anything, but it was still a welding helmet.  The helmet got good reviews but the headgear that comes with it didn't, so my husband might have to get new headgear to mount in it, but I figure either way the helmet was free, so hopefully it'll be good enough to get the job done!  The really cheap ones (like 30.00 around) made me nervous as a lot of those people said the helmets didn't work and something about not wanting my husband to be flash blinded seemed to be important when deciding on a helmet.

5.  One of my daughter's friends gave her some flowers as part of a birthday gift.  It was a nice, and free to us, splash of color on the table tonight.

6.  I gave away the cat food that I was nervous about feeding Prince to my mother-in-law who distributed it among family members whose pets would do okay with it.  I felt good that the food was going to be used, anyway, instead of going to waste.

7.  My sister-in-law gifted me some mason jars this week (thanks, Ana!). 

8.  I gifted one of the .50 wool coats I had bought to cut up for fabric to a friend of mine who was asking for donations for her daughter who lost everything recently.  I figured if there was nothing else I could do to help, helping someone stay warm...well there are few things more important in Alaska in the winter than that. 

And there you go folks.  Some of my frugal adventures for the week (I'm dealing on no sleep today, so I'm sure I'm forgetting things...including where my list of things I did this week is).  How did you do?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Monthly Goals: March 2017

Well, officially I'm pretty sure I got nothing done on my goals list for last month.  I'm just kind of glad the month is over, honestly, and I can just start fresh this month.  I at least got things done last month...just nothing on my list.

I've got a bunch of different goals this month.  One big one is I'm attempting to make my laundry room into the "cat room" as I like to call it.  I realized now that Ginger is gone that I have an opportunity to try to nip some of the negative behaviors she would teach the new cat in the bud.  A big one is that she loved to claw at the carpet edges.  I noticed Prince trying to claw at the same areas the other night and realized that a new scratching post for downstairs is definitely on the agenda.  Belkar, bless her, loves scratching posts and goes for those before she'll claw anything else, so I'm hoping that Prince learns from her and not from the scratched spots on the carpet.

When I looked around downstairs on where to put things like a scratching post, I decided that the best spot to put one would be in the laundry room with the rest of the cat things.  So, I'm going to reuse an old, but in good condition scratching post (with a bit of refurbishing) in the laundry room. 

So, anyway, gutting and redoing the laundry room is definitely on the agenda this month.

I'm also hoping to finish up cleaning and organizing the master bedroom as I would like to get that done up right for a change, instead of it looking like a catch all room all the time.

And then, there is the goal of "begin premature Spring cleaning" as I keep wanting to start cleaning and preparing for Spring to get here even though we have TONS of snow on the ground and things, so I figure cleaning and getting the house better prepared for Spring isn't going to put me back any doing it  bit early.  This way I'm kind of hoping, too, when Spring gets here (if it ever gets here the way the weather is going) that I'll be able to focus my energies on the barn and the yard to expand the garden and get ready for hens :).

So, here's hoping I can get some of this stuff done.  So far it's looking kind of sad on the "getting things done around the house" front.  This week has been busy, but not around the house.  Next week alone I have appointments three days of the week and it isn't much better later in the month. So, yeah, getting things done around here is going to be a challenge.  Not that I've ever shied from a challenge anyway, but we'll see how it goes :).

Cleaning/Organizing Goals:
  • Finish cleaning and organizing master bedroom
  • Gut and reorganize laundry room for cats
  • Dig a path to the deck so husband can take garbage to the dump later on
  • Start finding a good system to separate recycling (turns out about 90% of our garbage around here, which we don't really have much of, is recyclable, so we want to start doing that since it's free and at the dump anyway).  We normally go through one large trashcan of garbage a week and the majority of that is things like milk jugs, so I'm really looking forward to how much actual garbage we'll be down to once we start recycling things.  And the center isn't that far from my house, so I can do recycling without my husband's help :).
  • Start "pre-Spring" cleaning

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on mending
  • Work on embroidery projects (hopefully!)

Other Goals:
  • Sign up son for Special Olympic swimming program (got all the paperwork to fill out, so step one complete)
  • Get son physical for said Special Olympics (appointment made)
  • Get son through eye exam and pray that if he needs glasses he'll be good about wearing them *fingers, toes and eyes crossed*
  • Pray that husband hears from the job he really wants (he did get called in for another interview on the other job he has an inside track on and is going in for said interview tomorrow).  Either way here's hoping that he gets a good job, with enough pay we can make bills without panicking every month and one that he'll enjoy doing.  Praying hard.
  • Get through other appointments without issue this month.

And, yeah, that is about it for goals for this month, not that isn't enough or anything.  How about you?  Up to anything this month?