Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

First, to those who have e-mailed me the last bit, I'm sorry for not getting back to you and I know some of the replies are SUPER late getting back to you and I'm sorry.  I WILL reply to e-mails, hopefully soon, so don't give up on me.  I've just been dealing with the odd twists and turns that life throws at me of late.

The big thing that happened this last week was I contracted some type of skin virus (the best guess we've gotten, anyway).  I started to break out late last week in what we thought were hives.  I took some Benadryl and went to bed and awoke the next morning to the welt type bumps spreading.  I ended up going to the doctor's for the welts as they just weren't going away (even after taking multiple showers, changing bedding, washing things in hot water to strip any allergens off of them, etc), weren't hives and we were just baffled to what was causing it, but were definitely worried and alarmed. The bumps kept spreading out in a localized area and resembled bug bites in their welt type of look, but didn't act like bug bites (they'd burst and seep fluid and do that for a while and then scab over, hurt like mad and then finally start healing).  After about three days the bumps stopped spreading (yay) and they are finally starting to finish up their life cycle it seems and starting to heal up and go away, but my legs (the place where the majority of the bumps ended up hitting) are kind of a mess still. 

But, yeah, I've been an itchy, exhausted (the biggest thing next to the welts with this bug was how tired I have been...fatigued doesn't even BEGIN to cover it), hurting, cranky mess the last little bit.  I'm finally starting to feel better.  Still really tired, but more of a normal type of tired versus a "I can't move even if I wanted to" type of tired.

So, yeah, I parted with 250.00 for a doctor's visit this week, which was actually the cheaper Urgent Care option available on a Saturday.  Yippee (my excitement knows no bounds...sarcasm...it'll get you through ;).

Right, so let's get to the rest of the week.

1.  On the "bad" end of the spectrum this week, Amazon finally ticked me off so badly that I actually called and went off on them and I wasn't nice.  At all.  I am proud of myself, though, in that I did not swear and I did calm down and apologize to the woman who was on the other end of the phone and told her I wasn't mad at her and such.  Luckily, once I explained why I was SUPER upset, she totally understood and told me to vent away as she would have too.

See that baggie in the picture up top there?  The one from USPS saying, "Sorry for the state of your mail"?  See what is in it?  Yeah, it's a box of lemon bar mix.  Did said mix fall out of a box somehow and still get to me?  Nope. YES, Amazon slapped a shipping label onto ONE BOX of lemon bar mix and threw it in the mail and seriously thought it would get to it's destination in one piece, didn't think that it was the least unsanitary to do anything like that, actually thought it was a legitimately good idea and went with it.  To top off that bit of "I can't even" the lemon bar mix was supposed to be a pack of SIX, not one lowly box, so the screw up was multiplied. 

So, of course, logic would dictate that throwing a thin cardboard box into the mail with a freaking shipping label on it would make it NOT get to it's destination in one piece.  The mail service actually did everything in their power to get the package here.  I stand by that one and applaud them for the effort.  They put pieces of packaging tape on both ends of the box as the thing got crushed by machines and things and tried their best to keep the box together to get it to it's destination.  They finally put it in the baggie when the sides started splitting apart.  Man, I'm STILL mad about that mess.  I finally found a lemon bar mix that is okay for the son's peanut allergy (King Arthur Flour lemon bar mix, for those who might suffer from peanut allergies, has no cross contamination with tree nuts), ordered six boxes so I could make some on and off and send them to school with him to try new textures out and things (he likes lemon Starburst so I was hoping to work the lemon flavor into more real types of food) and THIS was the result.  The gal I talked to gave me a refund on my order (as, of course, the six pack of lemon bar mix is no longer available) and then gave me a 10.00 credit on top of it, but just...ugh!  This is the second Subscribe and Save order they have messed up in a ROW for me.  I'm seriously going to think twice before ordering anything food related from them again anytime soon.  This was bottom of the barrel screw up type of levels and I'm seriously not comfortable with their quality control at ALL at this point.

But, yeah.  That happened.

2.  This is more of a sidebar to the actual post, but I just wanted to pass this along as I know some folks head right for the numbered points and skip introductions. 

I want to thank the folks who have been e-mailing me Instant Pot recipes and other electric pressure cooker recipes to help me out with managing time and/or just hoping to make my life a little easier.  Mary Elizabeth, if you read this, I've tried to e-mail you back a couple of times now, but my e-mail hates your e-mail and I can't get the messages to go through, so I'm hoping you read this here.  I REALLY appreciate the e-mails and recipes, I really do, but...well...I gave my Crock Pot Express away to someone who needed it a lot more than I did to help them out in a bad situation.  So, while I appreciate the recipes, I can't really use them since I don't have the machine anymore and I really hate for you to continue to e-mail me all kinds of cool Instant Pot resources when I can't really make use of them (I have converted a few of the recipes to the crock pot, though, so thank you for sending the recipe ideas).  If you have any recipes for traditional stove top pressure cookers, though, I have several of those, so feel free to send me those :). 

3.  The other thing in the photo at the top of the page is my big purchase for the family (well the son, really) that I took money from the dividends to get.  I call her "Sputnik" as she's about the size of a small satellite (she's currently residing on my freezer until I can figure out where in the Heck I can store her at) and she's a 5 quart air fryer.  I bought it for exactly one reason.  To cook french fries in it.  French fries are a major part of the son's diet and he loves deep fat fried french fries, so I figure if I can make really good french fries in this thing that taste like fried french fries?  It'll pay for itself in  no time and I'll be thrilled that Alvah is eating a little bit healthier.  I haven't had the energy to try it out yet being down with this bug, but am hoping to try it out this weekend or something.  Here's hoping!

4.  I took advantage of a personalized deal from Tiny Prints for 10 free holiday cards  (including envelopes) with a personalized free shipping code.  I used some cute pictures of the kids from last winter to make the cards.  It'll be nice to be able to send out a few Christmas cards this year :).

5.  I roasted a chicken this week.  Nothing extraordinary there, but I've found a new to me method to bake them that works great.  Brandy, The Prudent Homemaker recommended cooking chickens upside down as the juices will then flow down into the white meat as the chicken cooks and it basically self bastes itself as it cooks.  I've done that with the last couple of chickens I've cooked and they have turned out awesome both times.  I'm definitely doing this in the future!  I just need to figure out how to carve a bird upside down now as I have to flip the bird over to carve it and it looks kind of weird, but small price to pay for an awesomely moist bird *laugh*.

6.  My husband found a really nice Halloween pumpkin when we went to the store last.  I wanted to get the jack o' lantern pumpkin as pumpkins were on sale for .59 lb, which is as cheap as they ever get.  I was even able to use a 1.00/1 pumpkin when you buy two party size bags of Doritos coupon (yes, that was the coupon on the Doritos bag...I'm baffled too *laugh*) to get the pumpkin cheaper yet.  When I got home I treated the outside of the pumpkin with alcohol and then coated it in Vaseline to help the pumpkin keep until Halloween (I read this method will help pumpkins keep longer, so I figured it was worth a shot) and then parked it in the pantry.  I've been checking on it regularly to make sure the mice, are indeed, still gone from the pantry and so far so good *knock on wood*.

7.  I ended up looking up some Amazon original series that we get to watch with Prime this week since I wasn't up to doing much, especially at night (should have been sleeping, but instead was up itching and not able to get comfortable) and ended up binge watching the first six episodes of "The Dangerous Book for Boys".  The series main plot is that the dad has recently died and the family, who are kind of an odd bunch, are just trying to get on with life as well as they can with him gone.  Having lost my dad seven years ago I was actually rather surprised how profoundly some parts got to me when watching the show, although I think a lot of that was just because I was exhausted and not feeling well.  It's amazing how loss sticks with you, no matter how much time has passed.  My dad was even kind of like the way the dad is portrayed in the show...an oddball genius eccentric type of person.  That pretty much described my dad to a "T" *laugh*.

8.  I sat down with the daughter and tried to come up with a plan for her Halloween costume this year.  She wants to be a sorceress, but finding things in her size that aren't overly "kiddie" (she's tiny for her age) is turning out to be a challenge.  I'm praying to feel up to near 100% here soon so we can work on her costume as I'm thinking it's going to be rather more elaborate than I've made before and I'm going to need time to get it done.

9.  The son got to go on his yearly bowling field trip last week and had an absolute blast.  Both of the kids also did AWESOME in swimming last week and are finally starting to get swimming a bit better and are able to swim a bit on their own.  I'm proud of them both :).

10.  The heater in my truck decided to die (of course right when the weather started getting colder and you needed said heater).  My husband was able to fix it just for the price of parts, which saved us labor costs and he was even able to fix it while we were sitting in the parking lot of the parts store.  I am so thankful to be married to a man with skills.

And there you are folks. Some of the adventures I got to go through this week.  How about you?  How did your week go?  Well, I hope?


  1. I'm really surprised that Amazon wouldn't just send the correct order! Shame on them! Their customer service is usually much better than that!

  2. Wow! You really do have a lot going on, don’t you! So happy to hear that your health is better, the French fryer sounds like a fabulous idea, the car heater got fixed and your son and daughter had a wonderful swim lesson! I don’t know how you keep it all straight! I had three children in five years but it doesn’t feel like we were as busy as you. Of course, age and time change perception and (old) memories!
    My week was better than good! I haven’t called about my colonoscopy, yet, I did make a dentist appointment and I just came back from the town one hour away with a few deals! Gas was cheaper there, too! A work friend came back to work today after having a mild stroke. I was so happy to see her! Life is good!
    Wishing you a healthier, calmer week ahead!

  3. I would contact King Arthur direct and tell them what happened. Explain that you wanted to try their lemon bars for your son , explain his allergies and issues. Maybe they will give you a free one or a break in the price. Worth a try.
    I had a similar rash experience in Aug. I ended up at Urgent Care too. Dr thought that it was a heat rash. Started on my tummy and spread down my legs. It was itchy, painful and so red. I ended up on prednisone for a week. That really helped. Still not sure what it really was, Dr said he had seen a lot of the same thing.

  4. I absolutely cannot believe that someone at Amazon thought that would be a good way to ship your package! What in the world were they thinking?!

    What a strange mystery rash you had, was it viral hives Maybe? I'm glad that you are on the mend sounds like it was miserable.

    My kids have gotten us all sick, we went in on Saturday for the flu shots and weren't able to get it because one had a fever and he's passed it on to each of us but I should be able to get my flu shot Friday and then they will go in next week to get theirs one day after school. Hopefully everyone's better, my six-year-old has some intermittent diarrhea but I'm pretty sure that's from him not being very good at blowing his nose and all of the stuff just coming out the other way.

    He has a field trip on Thursday though so I'm a little nervous and hoping he feels better. It hasn't kept him from school and I've been doing probiotics but still I can't imagine that that's very nice for him. He tends to have little bouts of this though every few months.

    I bet you can come up with something great for your daughter's Sorceress costume. Maybe some sort of dark colored grown up looking dress and just add some fancy looking material for scarf or something a hat and maybe she could have like a cauldron or just some colorful looking bottles of potions!

    I did find out today, when I had a couple minutes and decided to email Nestle about their hot chocolate they wrote back and said that there is Nestle's hot chocolate is made in a factory that does not have any peanut or tree nut products and they're not made on shared lines. I was happy to hear that. I had not planned to email them but I was like you know what I'm just going to ask! Glad I did.

    I hope your upcoming week goes a little bit smoother and hopefully those women bar mixes go back up for sale so you can get them. That just makes me so mad! I don't know why in the world they thought that could even work! The only good thing about that is they probably were able to figure out who packed your order so that they could get reprimanded.

  5. I have been watching a lot of British series on Prime. Endeavor, Inspector Lewis, and if you like scary Fortitude. I was just at the King Arthur store in Vermont and Amazon needs to make that order right.

    1. I love to just wander around the King Arthur store. I live 75 miles from it. Are you in Vermont?

  6. Oh my, that rash/virus sounds like pure misery! I hope you're on the mend soon. Viruses and mystery rashes seem to go hand in hand, and you got hit pretty hard. :(

    I was gifted a hand-me-down air fryer earlier this year, but I haven't had a chance to test it out yet. Life just moves too darn fast sometimes...

  7. Hi Erika,
    I'm glad the mystery rash is on the mend.
    I just got an air fryer. I tried making fries in it with plain peeled potatoes. They were ok for me once dipped in ketsup, but nothing like Oreida or other store brand frozen fries. I missed the taste of the oil. When you experiment with recipes, try the o r's that use at least s spritz if oil. They will probably taste more like deep fried fries.
    I tried the "fried chicken" recipe that is included in the pamphlet that comes with the machine, and it is great.
    The air fryer is great for making things crispy using less time and energy. It also keeps the house cool in the summer.
    You are SO right about the shape of the machine. I told my hubby it looks like it could be a robot from a Star Wars movie. ��