Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

I almost didn't do this post and just went for a two week recap this Friday, but have been wanting to get this post done for days, so I knew by the end of the week the lack of posting would drive me nuts *laugh*.

The last week has been crazy busy.  My life has revolved around the kids schedules the last little bit between swimming lessons, violin lessons (while Alvah is at therapy one day every two weeks my sister-in-law is being nice enough to teach Armina the basics of violin so she has a step up when orchestra starts in the fall.  So far, Armina is doing awesome), therapy and summer school.  While home I've been burning the candle at both ends and then snapping the candle in half to get a couple of more ends in play so I can get cleaning and organizing done around the house as well as all the stuff that normally has to be done (dishes, laundry, me running around constantly with a vacuum cleaner).  I've honestly lost track of days a couple of times (thank goodness for cell phone alarms to remind me).

So, yeah, since it's nearly midnight and then I'd be posting this sucker on Wednesday (ouch) let's get to the money saving things, minimal though they are, that happened last week.

1.  We were blessed with enough money to fix the truck, so I'm mobile again (yay!).  My husband called around, got the best deal on an alternator he could find and installed it himself, which definitely saved us money.  I'm so grateful that my husband has been able to fix so much that has broken around here.  I sincerely doubt we would have had the money to hire someone else to fix things, so having a man with skills is worth its weight in gold!

2.  Shopping was decently big due to going pretty much two weeks in between shopping trips (at least major ones) this summer.  I've had to raise my grocery budget, despite not really being able to afford to do so, just because the kids are BLOWING through food of late and with Alvah's diet...well blowing through that type of food costs a small fortune unfortunately.  I did get him to smell a strawberry the other night, which impressed me as that was the first time he'd EVER shown interest in strawberries before, and I got him to lick a crinkle cut french fry (NOT his chosen shape, so him licking it was a huge deal for him).  Progress is slow, and small, but very much appreciated around here :).

Highlights of the shopping trip would definitely have to be cheap fish!  Carrs was having a big seafood sale last week, so I stopped off to see what was on sale other than king crab legs and lobster tails (the two things they focused on in their ad, of course).  I found that they had some of my favorite frozen fish on sale (the pollock is a great bargain there) and that they had other kinds all on sale for about 3.00 per bag (or 3.00 per lb really).  I grabbed three bags.  The pollock I used to make fish and chips for Father's Day (the husband enjoyed it :) and the other two I put in the freezer for cheap meals later on.

I also found that they had Langer's frozen juice concentrate on sale for 1.25 per container, which was CHEAP (that stuff normally runs at over 3.00 per container and if you are lucky it goes on sale for about 2.50).  I grabbed some of that to drink with breakfast around here and also grabbed some pink lemonade mix (I had a personalized price of 1.25 per container of that brand last week).  A shot of the fish and juice concentrates can be seen above there.

3.  I got my coupon in the mail for a free 8 pack of Arrowhead sparkling water, so I redeemed that this week (seen up top).  My daughter doesn't like it because it's too "weak tasting" so I've been throwing in an envelope of Crystal Light grape flavor into the ones she's drinking...not what I was hoping for, but it's getting drank that way.  I've been drinking them without anything added to them.  I don't think the water is bad.  Overpriced for what you get (at nearly 7.00 per 8 pack normally), but not bad.

4.  I got a bunch of free magazine subscriptions in this week.  Getting a free subscription to "Taste of Home" a while back still counts as one of my favorite subscriptions ever.  I get all excited when it comes in the mail *laugh*.

5.   I got to give my daughter something totally free, but priceless this summer.  My time.  When you have a special needs child, any parent will tell you that time becomes way more than a priceless commodity.  Since my husband works the grave shift, my daughter and I sit on my bed and watch the smart TV in my bedroom, after my husband leaves for work and my son is fast asleep, for a little bit.  It has led to some really nice conversations and just some one on one time with her, which is priceless to me and I'm sure to her as well.  And it's fun for my daughter because she gets to pick the programming.

6.  I utilized Pinterest a lot the last little bit to find new recipes and things to try.   It really does help to get me inspired on the menu plan when I have a BASIC idea of what I need to use up (like, say, chicken), but am not sure what to make.

7.  I went through my freezers, figured out what things I needed to use up, and worked out menus accordingly.   It feels good to use things up and not waste anything.

8.  I realized that my husband wasn't going to have time to change out the brush on my vacuum cleaner, so I sat down with my non-mechanically inclined self, and figured it out.  I got the brush changed out and the vacuum works a LOT better now.  Woohoo!

9.  I deep cleaned a bunch of stuff this week and while doing so looked at the curtains in my bedroom and realized that they are so old (they look like they came out of some 80's hotel...I wish I was kidding) that they are developing holes in them.  I made the kids new curtains for their rooms when their curtains got that bad, so I added a goal to my list of looking through my fabric and things and seeing if there is anything I have that I can make curtains out of.  The windows in my house are all odd sizes, so buying curtains would cost a fortune, so making new curtains is the only way forward I can see at this point.  We'll see what I come up with.  I might have to look at the used stores for material here as I'm not sure I have any fabric big enough, but I'll have to see what I can find.

And, yeah, everything I'm doing around here organizing-wise is kind of in transition at the moment, but I'll share more as I get where I can call my multiple projects "done" or "nearly done".

How did you do last week?  Well I hope?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Monthly Goals: June 2018

Wow!  This post took forever to get done!  Namely because my computer went completely bonkers again and I just spent last night and this morning (and into this afternoon) restoring the computer to an earlier time, running scan disk, running disk defrag and all kinds of other wonderful programs to TRY and get this sucker working right and I still had to reinstall my internet browser to get it to even load.  Ugh.  Just ugh!  My husband is going to look at the laptop tonight once he gets up and see if there is a way to upgrade the RAM on the computer or not to see if that helps, but my frustration level is right below Kermit the Frog before he'd go berserk and start screaming incoherently right about now *laugh*.

Blogging, though, even before the computer (insert nasty mumbled adjectives to describe said computer under breath) decided to crap out on me again, I was already behind just because last week was so hectic.  Summer school started, we had a day where we had speech rearranged on us (and it's looking like the next couple of weeks are going to be like that too) as Alvah's new speech therapist is opening clinics left and right and the latest is actually out of state, so she has to fly down a lot to check on how the therapists are doing in their new home.  So, in one day, we had speech therapy, home for about 15 minutes, went shopping, rushed back home and grabbed Alvah's back pack, went and dropped him off at summer school, ran to go get his swimming bag from home and finish up shopping (I had to get some more yeast at our local Eastern European Market as they carry the SAF yeast I love to use) and then we ran back to the school, picked Alvah up early and ran him to swimming.  By the time we all got home, we were wiped.  Last week pretty much went down like that.  My husband took a four day weekend last week so he could spend some time with the family and we had fun doing stuff together.  Alvah did great adjusting to summer school, therapy and swimming going on at the same time.  Armina worked on getting her room cleaned up and I worked on tons of other things in the time I had available.

Which, actually, ties in pretty well to transition this post, so let's get to this month's goals (since all posts are behind right now I'm AIMING to do this one right now and do the frugal recap for the week tomorrow or tonight, depending, so no I haven't forgotten it :).

Normally, I'd have some garden goals included in this post for the month, but unfortunately, the garden just isn't going to happen this year.  This sucks as the garden normally provides us with greens and lettuce, if nothing else, throughout the summer months and in the case of greens, I normally have some of those to put up for winter.  But, it just was not to be this year, unfortunately.

I have tried everything and nothing has worked.  I have moose tramping through the garden MULTIPLE times a day at the moment by all of the tracks everywhere with more popping up all of the time.  I planted sprouting potatoes the other day only to have a vole or other animal (I have no idea what, honestly) dig up said potatoes and eat them (that was a first for me).  I finally, despite a sense of foreboding, checked on the raspberry plants around the yard only to find that the (insert really nasty curse words) moose had struck again and had eaten every single plant off at the snow line over the winter.  How those suckers will leave EVERY SINGLE rose bush and other plant, but go for the raspberry bushes is amazing to me.  So, I am definitely not getting any raspberries out of my yard this year, unfortunately.  The roses are blooming, although not as many as I'm used to seeing by this time in the year (it's still pretty wet and cold).  I've still got plenty of rose hip jelly in the pantry, it turns out, when I went digging, so at least THAT was a relief as making jelly isn't a core need this year.  I'm glad I still have some raspberry jam and jelly left, as well, as I'm not sure how my mother-in-law's raspberries are going to do this year either.  With how wet and cold it is, I'm wondering if the raspberries are just going to have one of those years where they rot on the plant before they ripen.  It's been known to happen.

So, yeah, giving up on the garden was AWFUL, and hard, but there comes a point where it just isn't going to work and when you have a family of moose tramping around the garden looking for cabbages or other goodies since you had them last year...you either have to put up a 12' fence (so not in the budget, not to mention where in the heck would I put it since the garden beds are right up against asphalt?) or you just need to say, "This ain't going to happen" and get yourself a greenhouse...also not in the budget unfortunately.  The husband is going to try hard to get me a greenhouse designed and get it put in by next year, but we shall see how it goes.

Anyway, let's get to less depressing matters.  As goals go, I did manage to get the love seat done last month (finally!) and I got one skirt made for the daughter (yay!), but I still have a list about a mile long of things I want to get done this summer before the inevitable rush of school and things takes over, so I'm going to list things I'd like to get done in the next couple of weeks and pray I can get even 1/16 of them done.  Wish me luck!

Cleaning and Organizing Goals:

  • Continue to reorganize pantry.  Consolidate like items together.  Make list of things that need to be used (I found a few things when I was organizing my home canned goods...in progress seen up top there...Prince totally photo bombed no matter how many times I took the picture, so I just finally admitted defeat there) and try to make a more in-depth inventory list for the pantry.  Make list of needed items to get over the coming months.
  • Organize Master Bedroom Closet.  My husband kind of wants me to put this off, but I'm going to do it anyway.  I'm so tired of looking in there and just seeing mess everywhere.  I might only be able to use what I have on hand, but by God I know I can improve it if nothing else.
  • Organize hallway closet (I want to organize it better so it makes more sense and will hopefully house things like paper towels and things I need.  I figure the best way forward is just going to be gutting it and starting over again.  Once again, I'm pretty sure I can at LEAST improve it if nothing else).
  • Deep clean bathrooms and fill in silicone where grout is going on some of the tiles.  
  • DAP around sinks and bathtubs
  • Shampoo stairs 
  • Take old mattress off of race car bed, reorganize son's room and figure out better way of doing things.
  • Take every single thing out of kitchen cabinetsFix lazy susan shelf with JB Weld (you have to completely rip the entire shelf out to get it fixed, so wish me and my not-mechanically inclined self luck here!) and then reorganize kitchen better (I am DETERMINED to make it work better than it is now as I have bowing shelves, things in areas that don't make sense, things falling out of cabinets...I'm done with that mess).

General Goals:

  • Find lowly can of seltzer water by tonight so I can make fish and chips for Father's Day dinner (I KNOW I put it somewhere safe in the hallway closet!).  
  • Work on daughter's skirts (I should put sewing in it's own category, but then the one lowly general goal I have will be lonely ;).
  • Work on mending. 
  • Work on quilt.
  • Work on the saving money blogging series (this will get done if my computer doesn't go into meltdown so often here).
And there you go folks.  My "you're going to be so sore doing this stuff, so what the Heck are you thinking???" list of things I want to get done here.  How about you?  Working on anything this month?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

I know it's Monday, so technically it's "Frugal Monday"  but it seemed odd to say Monday and then potentially have another post on Friday in the same week for some reason, dumb though that reason is.

Anyway, to get down to the point of the post.  Guess what?!?  More stuff broke!!!

I'm stuck in this weird Twilight Zone type of feeling right now and I'm not sure why.  There is this sense of unreality to how things keep breaking around here, panic about not being able to afford to replace and/or fix some of them and just a general sense of overwhelm right now. 

This week we added to "The Breakening" list...

  • The truck's alternator 
  • The carpet cleaner 
  • The downstairs sink drain
  • A ladle (luckily that is fixable I'm pretty sure as the handle just popped off)
  • More than a few articles of my clothes (it's kind of nuts how many items I had this week just plain give up and die on me, which was really sad because of a few of the items, especially some of my t-shirts, were super comfy and I really liked them).

We need to fix the truck somehow, which the new alternators can't really be rebuilt with a factory kit, so buying a new alternator is your only real option, which the alternator for the truck is going to cost about 200.00 to replace.  This next pay period is our "short" pay period due to the mortgage coming out of it, so not a good time for the truck to have any type of problem.  And then the one year raise came through for my husband, it wasn't much (every little bit helps, though, I'll be the first to look at that silver lining) and with how little we have in the bank after paying bills and getting groceries...it's rough on the morale.  My husband has, once again, been going back to the worry that maybe he'll have to quit this job, even though he really likes it, just because we can't really get ahead on what he makes.  And while I normally try to remain positive as much as I can about things, this week it was hard to argue much with his worries as I have them to.  We'll just have to wait and see how it goes I guess and pray for the best.  At least this happened over summer break so I don't have to worry about getting the kids to school.

I did manage to wrestle some good from the week, however, so let's get to that.

1.  I managed to KIND of fix the carpet cleaner.  It kept breaking suction when cleaning and would just start free wheeling and revving WAY too high.  I flipped it over, after realizing that I had to try and fix it somehow as with the son in the house, and I'm sorry the second idea I had to use the husband's Shop Vac with a lot of scrubbing with my scrub brush and carpet cleaner by hand just didn't seem like a viable option at the moment, and got to work trying to figure out what could be wrong with it.  Turns out a lot of the rubber gasket type of material around seals is going and then on top of that the brush housing is cracked.  After some experimenting I figured out that I need to keep the tank at least 1/4 to 3/4 full to avoid the carpet cleaner sucking air and breaking it's vacuum seal with the carpet and then I also have to make sure to use an entire tank of water at one time because if I park the carpet cleaner upright now the gaskets leak and the water from the clean water tank immediately starts to pour out onto the carpet.  So, it's an interesting tight rope I walk as I'm cleaning carpets at the moment, but I'm getting there.  Got the living room about 1/3 of the way done the last couple of days (which believe me with how bad the carpet gets with my son in the house, this is a good amount of progress!).

2.  Grocery shopping was minimal this week.  I got some milk, some soda and some chewable Benadryl and that was about it other than prescriptions for the son.  I did end up ordering some Curel Itch Defense lotion from Amazon along with my husband's acid reflux medicine (I cancelled and reordered when I realized that Alvah was nearly out of the lotion and they didn't have the small tubes on Subscribe and Save anymore, instead I had to buy a big bottle of the stuff as an "add on" item).  My husband had gotten a 10.00 Amazon gift card for taking the same survey for the study on autism as I had taken, so I stole the 10.00 to apply toward the order (I told him and apologized for it, but he was okay with it as he knew we needed the stuff).

3.  I used up odds and end in the fridge and freezer to help stretch meals this week and to make sure that things didn't go to waste.

4.  I mended some shirts of my husband's this week as well as a pair of his jeans.  I also mended a couple of items for my daughter.

5.  I cleaned and organized a lot this week, and I still have a ton of other things on my "to do" list to go.  I'll get more into those, hopefully tomorrow, in my Monthly Goals post.

6.  While sitting at therapy last week I started designing the first embroidered block for the quilt I want to make.  I am using material that I've used previously to make some of the squares, so am making sure to design the blocks carefully to cover up any stains in the fabric (which with the son, let's face it, there are enough of those to work around).  I'm using unbleached muslin for the embroidered square backgrounds (the super duty stuff I bought years ago will definitely be alright to use and wash a lot, but I have some thinner material that I am going to put fusible interfacing on the back of to make it a stronger fabric) and it's going to be quite the project.  I'm figuring on 34 embroidered squares mixed in with solid squares.  I'll get more into what the finished project's plan is hopefully in the next little bit here.  I am super excited about it :).  So far out of an old table cloth I made to use for the son at feeding therapy and the old couch slip cover I made for the cushions before I finished it with red covers a while back, I think I'll have a pretty good start on the quilt squares.

7.  When making the quilt squares to not only save time, but also to cut more accurately (at least it is supposed to be more accurate by my old sewing books) I tore the fabric versus cutting it when making the blocks.  And it worked!!!  I was thrilled when I had some perfect squares instead of my usual "how did that end of the square end up 1/4 inch shorter than this end?" type of outcome.  And it was much, much quicker and easier on the cutting hand :).

8.  I made my daughter a skirt with materials I had on hand.  I still have a couple more to make, but realized that I'm dangerously low on Guterman white thread and it's the only thread I use for an all purpose utility thread....Coats and Clark thread and my machine just lead to loads of frustration on my part and me wanting to send stern letters to the company on the quality of their product.  I was going to buy another 1000 m spool at Joann's this week, but then the truck broke and well...that got put onto a back burner fast and I'll have to work it into the budget somewhere in the near future.  I'm going to look through my thread and see if there are some decent old thread spools that I can use to make the last couple of skirts with.  But, hey, the first one turned out cute and my daughter has been pretty much living in it since I made it, so I THINK she likes it ;).

I'm sure there's more, but it's after midnight and the son and daughter haven't let me sleep more than five hours a night all week long, so I'm pretty tired right now and am going to call it good there.

How about you?  Your week go alright?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

What's for Dinner: This Week's Menu

Yay!  For the first time in forever I am finally getting this post done!  Feels good to be able to say I got my menu plan for the week done for a change :).  There is an upside to the son having therapy again.  I end up being stuck in a waiting room for an hour with time to kill.  At home normally I find things to fill that time with housework and things, but when I'm at therapy it's a great time to work on menu plans, darn socks, work on embroidery and other "hand done" projects that I normally would talk myself out of doing at home in favor of vacuuming or doing something like laundry.

We had our first speech therapy session today and the speech therapist got a good 40 minutes worth of work out of Alvah.  That's a pretty big deal with him as he really doesn't like to work and has a hard time bonding with people enough to be willing to work.  So, yay for a good start.

So, let's get onto this week's menu (so I can go to bed ;).

Wednesday:  Sandwiches and chips (impromptu type of dinner.  The son was in kind of a happy, but demanding mood). 
Thursday:  Stuffed pork chops, salad, apple sauce.  Dessert:  Rice pudding with figs.  I have yet to make the Titanic inspired dessert I had planned a while back, so I REALLY want to try it tomorrow as I have dried figs I'd like to use up and that would be a really yummy way to do it :).  I am totally going to mess with the recipe completely, refine it and make it my own, but it was a good base to start from. 
Friday:  Ribs, mashed potatoes, salad, home made bread. 
Saturday:  Pan fried chicken, leftover mashed potatoes, baked beans/corn.  Sponge cake (with jam or jelly in between layers) for dessert. 
Sunday:  Breakfast Dinner 
Monday:  Roast chicken, rice, green beans, cranberry salad on the side. 
Tuesday:  Chicken casserole (use leftover chicken) with mixed veggies, rice.

And there you are folks.  Our menu plan for the week.  How about you?  Eating anything good this week?

Monday, June 4, 2018

Frugal Sunday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Poor blog.  Life keeps getting in the way of me posting lately, it seems.

This week was just busy for the most part, but we did have a couple of scary allergic reactions with Alvah when the pollen was out in moderate amounts for the birch and alder trees, resulting in some facial swelling and a LOT of nasty itching on his part.  After copious amounts of antihistamines we managed to avoid having to go to Urgent Care or the ER for additional steroid help, but it was definitely a scary time for me.  We keep going back and forth about getting him allergy shots (alternative allergy treatments around here seem to only be open to women due to licensing issues or insurance doesn't cover them, so traditional treatments is what we've got at the moment), but I know he won't tolerate that many shots all of the time, so I really am at a loss at what to do other than just do the best we can.

And then yesterday I was planning to blog and just ended up not feeling well last night, so blogging definitely got tabled (my husband even had to go into work late because of me, poor guy).

Overall, though, despite the stumbling speed bumps of life, I did manage to get a lot done this last week, so let's get to that!

1.  My husband tore apart the ice maker this week, hoping to be able to fix it.  He found the motor was shot, so went looking around at the appliance repair place to see if he could just get a new motor, but the only way the repair places could get ice maker replacement parts for our ice maker was in a full unit, which would cost 130.00 to replace.  We went onto Amazon and found a replacement ice maker for 39.99 instead.  It's coming UPS tomorrow.  I was a bit concerned about a non OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) part going in, but my husband basically assured me that if the actual part didn't fit, the motor would be the same type he'd need to fix the old ice maker, so it would be fine.  So, we'll see how that goes.

2.  I had some stuff on order with Amazon Subscribe this month, but cancelled it to save money and ordered my husband's acid reflux meds by themselves.  While doing so I found out that the medication he's been taking actually changed their formula and that is probably why he's been having problems with his acid reflux of late.  I found a generic form of Nexium to try out as that contains the magnesium with the other med he needs (and seems to do him the most good). 

3.  I was blessed with a few gifts this week.  I was gifted a box of food, which was welcome (yay additional boxes of pasta!) and I was gifted some sewing notions and little craft kits (which some of them, I'll admit, got put aside for Christmas gifts for the daughter) and also got a box of cookie cutters in the shape of letters and numbers, which will be fun to use to make sugar cookies (HOPEFULLY tomorrow as I'm kind of wiped today still).  We were also gifted a month of free swimming lessons for my daughter through the swimming outfit my mother and other in-laws use since my daughter is going to class with her grandma and cousins, which was really really nice of the owner to do that.  My son is going to be going for an autism specific swim class starting this week, so I'm hoping it goes well.  I'm concerned about the water being salt water with his eczema, but am hoping that he'll do alright with the class as being in the water does him a lot of good.  Here's hoping it all works out.

I'm officially going to be running around like a chicken with my head cut off between swimming lessons, ABA/Speech and summer school, but hopefully it will break up the summer enough for Alvah and also give him the therapies and other things he needs to not lose any skills this year, or better yet start to excel.

4.  I was a mending machine this week (still working on a few items though).  I fixed a couple of pairs of my husband's jeans, rebuilt a work shirt of his (seen up top there as I was proud of how it all looked when done as getting that patch to line up right without pulling in weird areas was a challenge...my favorite pair of jeans that died, cut up, was used to make the jean patch...I hope it holds up well), hemmed a pair of jeans that were too long for my husband (they were on sale for buy 1 pair get one pair free, but the store had only one in his size, so we had got a pair that was too long for him and I FINALLY found the time to hem them for him), fixed a few shirts that were losing seams and am working on a few holes in work shirts for my husband today that he needs to wear to work every day.  

I also spent a big portion of my time yesterday, when not feeling well, online and on a good old note pad as I planned out the quilt that I decided I am going to make for me for my bedroom.  It's going to require a lot of embroidery and a decent amount of time, but it is going to be a lot of fun to do, so I'm really looking forward to starting it now :).

5.  I started to take an in depth inventory of the pantry this week and found a bunch of apple sauce that I had canned that my daughter, somehow, overlooked repeatedly while she was down getting a jar of apple sauce here and there, so I was happy to find that.  I started to make plans to use up some jars of things that were getting kind of old (still good, but the quality of home canned goods starts to go down after a year, so it's best to use them up before they get too old).  I made apple pie this week for dessert to use up a jar of apples I'd canned in light syrup and have one more to use up soon.  I took the syrup that was in the jar of apples, after I strained the syrup into a bowl and put the apples in the pie shell, and put it in a saucepan.  I added a teaspoon of corn starch, some cinnamon and nutmeg and whisked it well to eliminate lumps and then just heated it up until the syrup thickened.  I then poured it over the apples (thus no need to add any thickener to the pie or sugar) folded the crust over to make a one crust pie essentially (we like a lazier made pie, what can I say) and baked it.  It came out really good!  So, I know what I'm going to do with the other jar of apples for sure ;).

6.   Shopping was HUGE this week...I can't think of another way to put it.  We finally, for the first time in a month or more, got an okay sized paycheck in, so we went shopping and I pretty much spent my entire month grocery budget in one fail swoop.  Bright side is that I got my son a bunch of his favorite snacks (including Goldfish crackers, which he adores and were FINALLY on sale), so he's been a lot better about not wanting to go out for McDonald's french fries every day and takes the "no" a lot better when he does ask, but going to McDonald's wasn't on the agenda.  I was just happy to get food back in the house in decent quantities to last a bit, honestly.  I know that we're going to go over on our grocery shopping this month because of that shopping trip, but we were out of so much that I'm completely okay with that.

7.  I made pasta salad to use up some of the elbow macaroni I have around here (my husband and I are just NOT macaroni and cheese people and I just don't use elbow macaroni for much) along with the few straggly pieces of celery I had left (I am DEFINITELY going to buy organic celery from now on!  That stuff lasted about THREE TIMES as long as non-organic celery and it still tasted good at the end!) and other odds and ends.  It came out well and we've been eating it as a side with dinner for the last three days or so.

8.  I started to plan the menu plan for this month, although with the son's allergy problems and me being sick yesterday, it kind of put me behind.  But, for the first time in a couple of months I'm feeling good about getting back on the menu planning wagon.

9.  I found a new YouTube channel that I'm loving watching.  The woman did a collaboration episode with Townsends/18th Century Cooking and after watching her companion episode, I immediately subscribed.  The channel is, I believe (I can't get my laptop to bring up YouTube no matter how hard I try anymore) the English Heritage Channel and she runs a cooking show on it where she gives you recipes from the Victorian era out of a "big house" (upper class).  The episodes are short (with my life this is a benefit sometimes), are really well done and are really interesting to watch.  I watched one episode this morning which was essentially fried rice in a breakfast dish with seafood (mind you there was no soy sauce or other oriental flavors involved in the seasoning, but the principal was the same).  It's a new fun thing to watch :).

10.  Got my home owners insurance renewal paperwork in the mail and, of course, my insurance company, once again, didn't process through the insurance score consent I e-mailed back in April to them.  I contacted my local insurance representative and she's going to work on it for me.  Ugh.  Irritating, but at least I have an insurance rep who is willing to go to bat for me (the gal I had the first few years of my policy was just nasty and evil to deal with and I REALLY disliked her.  I was thrilled to get this new gal a couple of years ago as she is always nice and professional).

11.  I looked over our budget billing and wasn't happy with what I was seeing with our gas bill, so I called them to try and figure out a way to alleviate the inevitable hurting that I could see coming with that bill.  The gal I talked to was very nice and refigured my bill and raised it by 20.00 per month on my request.  I've also been turning off the heat during the day right now so I am hoping that my gas bill will be low enough to not kill me next month (when budget billing is due to redo for the next year).  The woman assured me that I can call up next month if the bill is too high for me to pay and I can split up the payments over twelve months or something, so hopefully this won't hurt too badly when all is said and done.

And there you go folks.  My week in a nutshell.  Hopefully I can get back onto an even blogging schedule here this month.  So far I'm at least happy with what I'm getting done so far in June, which is a nice change of pace.  How about you?  How did your week go?