Saturday, November 30, 2019

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Man, this post is really late.  It's been so insanely busy around here I completely forgot what day it was until I looked at a calendar and then I'd run and do the next thing on my list.  So, no worries all, I'm still alive.  Just REALLY tired after this month.

Well, before I begin, I feel I really need to acknowledge the fact that today is the one year anniversary of the November 30, 2018 earthquake.  An event that, literally, shook our lives and has seen us scrambling to recover ever since.   I know a lot of people up here who are pretty much spending today standing in a doorway for fear that mother nature will repeat the event, but I've gotten to a point that if you live in fear, fear will rule you, and honestly I don't want to live like that.  I did for a few months after the earthquake, for sure, but you can't live like that forever.

What has happened?  Tons.  So, let's get to the recap of everything.  I'm just going to work money saving things into the actual recap, otherwise I'll forget things.  Trust me, it's been a crazy, what, 20 days or so since my last update?

First, we awoke one day to see that winter had, officially, arrived.  We were up early to get a head start on school work and after working on it for a while I realized that it was approaching dawn, so I stuck my head out and took some pictures for you.  Sadly, the moon didn't turn out as awesome as it looked in person (when do pictures ever really capture what you are looking at?), but everything really looked cool in the dawn early light.

Might I just say how I'm really enjoying the snow when we are getting it this year in a way.  It covers the roof of the barn that is caving in since the quake (it lost a main support bean so the middle of the roof is sagging), you can't see the missing gutters and things.  Everything just looks pretty and I can sit, enjoy it and realize that any work that is left has to be put aside until Spring, so why worry about it :).

The snow actually melted into the less desired ice rather quickly, but it was pretty while it lasted.

People from areas that get snow in the winter are like, "You can move on now!  I've seen snow before" but I hope those who come from environments that don't get snow at least enjoy the show ;).

At this point the cats took off at a run, landed in the snow and got upset that outside was broken, so they went back in.  But, I got one last shot before the sun was completely up for the day.  Well at least until the clouds moved in and everything was grey again *laugh*.

Right, moving on!

Next up on the recap is that the reason I haven't blogged during the weekends like I've  been planning on.  The daughter and I made a deal that she could take time off of school, but ONLY if she worked ahead, working through the weekends, to make sure she had time off "banked" to use for things like Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas break (we are hoping to take the week of Christmas off from school work).  So, we've been working through the weekends the last bit, thus the reason I have been having a hard time finding time to do much outside of day to day activities.  It's been busy!

And then there is the day to day activities!

The in-laws have been really generous in allowing us to use their dumpster the last bit, which I'm really grateful for as money has been flying out the door whether we wanted it to or not.  The husband had a bad pain in his ear, so he ended up going to the doctor's and getting diagnosed with a sinus infection (which, honestly, I think he's been battling for months and finally succumbed to), so he ended up on antibiotics.  There was the daughter's orthodontist appointment with impending bottom braces news.  There was the full dyslexia and learning disability testing we took the daughter in for, which will cost money when insurance figures it all out.  And I'm on antibiotics round three to try and get rid of this darned staph infection that just refuses to die.  It's been crazy around here.  

The daughter went in for her baby sitting boot camp class and learned a lot of first aid techniques and is now, officially, accredited in Red Cross first aid training and CPR for the next two years.  I'm very proud of her for getting through the class and doing so well :).  We are hoping, with the love of swimming she's found since she started that she might one day want to get certified as a life guard.  Not only is that a really awesome skill to have, but it will also allow her to get a decent job when she gets older that is always in demand somewhere :).

Homeschooling the son is getting more into a groove around here.  He's definitely put me through my paces trying to find things that would work well for him.  I finally used part of our allotment with the home school to get him a new tablet and the Apple pencil (I keep calling it the IPen and I swear it'll remain such in my head).  I loaded his LAMP program to the new tablet and I went searching and found a bunch of free apps to use for him on top of a few I already had on our cloud.  I've gone through probably 20 or more apps to find ones that worked well for him, but he's now doing really well!  He does the tripod grip so much better with the new stylus pencil than he was doing with a marker (I theorize it has something to do with the weight as the Apple pencil is heavier than a traditional writing implement) and he's making forward progress.  Which makes me really happy as he's stagnated at public school the last few years. 

Feeding therapy makes him grumpy, but he's still tasting things and sniffing things and experiencing food more.  He's not happy about it, but he's doing it (bwahahahaha!).

Anyway, back to the dumpster angle (sorry tangents are going to happen on this post as so much has been going on).  Like I said the in-laws have been really generous with the use of their dumpster the last bit, so I (with help from my husband and a cordless saw) able to break down the couch and get it thrown away a few weeks ago.  

So, after I cleaned up the den after that and rearranged things, I put together the new chairs.  They are surprisingly comfortable, although I had to immediately make throw pillows for them as they are so deep I can't touch the floor if I sit all the way back in them.  

I was so happy that I had collected those sheets and things to try and make a fall themed quilt a while back, because the yellow sheet I found matches the walls in the den PERFECTLY, so the throw pillows look really nice in there.  I used recycled fill from the couch to stuff the pillows (more pillows are in the plans in the next bit to not only use up some of the leftover fill, but because I need some pillows), so they cost me basically nothing to make.  

I moved things around in the den so that we could have unobstructed access to the coat rack, which has been nice.

Unfortunately, moving things around also revealed to my husband that we have some pretty significant feeling cracks in the slab underneath the carpet in the den (it has a really thin carpet pad in there, so goodness knows if we have more cracks in the master bedroom to worry about as the pad in there is a lot thicker and could hide some issues).  He asked my brother-in-law over to check out the cracks and unevenness in the slab through the carpet and they both agreed that we probably need to pull back the carpet to see what we are dealing with in the damage area.  They are both pretty certain that we don't have any severe structural problems to worry about as our doors and windows work, nothing is obviously severely cracked in the walls and stuff, but we might have to jack hammer up our slab, fix the ground beneath and then pour new slab, which would cost...we'll just say more than I care to think about and leave it at that.  I'm am going to live in ignorant bliss until my husband wants to tackle that issue as I honestly don't know if I want to know at this point.

Anyway, onto cheerier subjects!

Another thing we have been up to is that we got our bathroom cabinets in and installed!  I am so thrilled with them.  The new vanities have drawers and the sinks we got at home depot are nice and deep (and only 50.00 a piece about), which replaced our falling in cabinets that had sinks that were cracked in the ceramic coating the cast iron  and losing porcelain since the earthquake.  We got just regular Formica counter tops installed on them, which is a lot more bulletproof than a lot of modern materials that are being used.
 We went with one sink in the master bathroom again to replace the old cabinet that also had one sink.  I know that two sinks is more modern, but if we had put in two sinks we wouldn't have been able to install the towel/linen cabinet on the left, which is by far one of my most favorite things EVER!  I FINALLY have a spot to put towels downstairs!!!  I still get a thrill opening the door and seeing towels folded up inside of it instead of having them out on the white cabinet where they could collect dust and things.  

We used the old faucet from the old downstairs sink and put it in upstairs in the other bathroom to save ourselves a bit of money.  It works a lot better than the old faucet did and my husband was able to get a drain kit to repair the broken drain so that we didn't have to replace the entire faucet.  We did have to buy a new faucet for the downstairs sink, so we got a nice dark brass faucet which both my husband and I really love.  It looks awesome in the bathroom and everything.  We were worried we'd have to replace the medicine cabinets, but after we installed the new cabinets, we both decided that the medicine cabinets didn't look bad and we're just going to leave them for now.  I still need to touch up the paint in both bathrooms where the cabinets went in (you can see a patch of white over on the right hand side above), but for the most part the bathrooms are done and I'm relieved.  The bathroom old bathroom cabinet in the master bath (the one that the above replaced) had gotten so wet in the past and the earthquake dislodged the sewer drain just a tiny bit, but enough to leak drops of water so there was mold under the cabinet that needed to get killed with extreme prejudice.  After going to town on it with nearly pure bleach, it cleaned up nicely and now everything is done right and working like it should.  Getting mold like that out of any house is a good thing, so I'm very glad we caught it by replacing the cabinet and it is fixed.  Huge relief.

I took the old white cabinet and cleaned it up and then moved it into the den for the time being.  The husband is going to work on building shelves for the den, but until then I figured the shelf could be useful holding books and things.  It actually does look nice in the den (I know it's still terribly cluttered, but it's getting better slowly but surely), so I'm happy with it.

I finally found time to get the sauerkraut ready to ferment.  It took forever to find time, but finally this week, the day before Thanksgiving in fact, I knew that I needed to get the sauerkraut done or I would lose valuable fridge space to the cabbages.  So, I got the sauerkraut ready to go.  With the staph infection and things I made sure I was super duper careful (I'm normally very careful with anything that has to do with canning, but this time I was even more paranoid) so that the finished product would be safe.  I still need to find room in the pantry for the fermenting jars, but I'm glad that stage one is on and working.

We put up the brand new Christmas tree yesterday.  We were careful choosing the tree and shopped around to find the best deal.  We went with a pre-lit LED tree (I honestly couldn't find a unlit tree that was worth buying) and the son LOVES all the color changing settings the tree has.  I love the fact that it has a nice metal stand and is pretty solidly built, so it stands up straight without benefit of a bunch of ropes and ribbon holding it.  

Thanksgiving went well.  No major catastrophe happened.  I was able to use the free turkey I got from Carrs last year for our Thanksgiving turkey this year (and I got another free turkey at Carrs last week which then took the place of the other turkey I used in the freezer for next year) and stuffed the carcass into the crock pot after the meal (or most of it as the bird I ended up for our turkey this year was nearly 20 lbs) to make some really yummy turkey stock out of.  I'm looking forward to making turkey noodle soup later with that stock :).  I didn't need to buy potatoes for the rustic potatoes gratin recipe I make every year because I had the free potatoes I harvested from the experimental farm.  I was really happy with how Thanksgiving worked out this year and I got a ton of turkey left over to make different dishes with, which (to me anyway) is a wonderful thing in itself.

So, yeah, between all of that and therapy and just general running around (like my husband and I rushed to get last minute Christmas shopping done when my son was at therapy and my daughter was at a club meeting at the home school offices because the daughter won't have another club meeting until January and we knew we needed to get things done and hidden NOW *laugh*), it's amazing I remember what my name is.  

I know there is more to the list of things that has happened around here the last 20 days or so, but I'm going to call it good there as I hit all of the main ones (I think).  How about you all?  Been busy this month?


  1. Oh no! You are still on antibiotics! I hope this time does the trick :(

    1. I do too. I'm tired of being sick, but am mainly afraid of having to end up on really serious antibiotics. Kind of scary.

  2. Good to hear from you Erika. I appreciate your snow scenery photos - they are beautiful. We do not get any snow where we live.
    I think your new chairs and pillows look great, and how awesome you were able to make pillows to match the wall colouring.
    It sounds like homeschooling is going well for your children which is good news.

    Life has been busy in my family, with both my mother and father-in-law in deteriorating health. My disabled daughter is having a colonoscopy this week. Today she was only allowed to eat low-fibre food, which wasn't too bad for her, but tomorrow she is only allowed clear fluids and then has to drink lots of medicine to clear out her bowels. She likes to plan her meals a day ahead, so when she asked me about her lunch and tea for tomorrow I had to explain she can only have jelly and apple juice, and she cried. Tomorrow is going to be a tough day for both of us, but we really need her to have the colonoscopy, so we will get through the day as best we can.

    I hope you and your husband are both soon feeling better.

  3. The snow looks so peaceful. Lovely pictures.
    Love the looks of the bathroom. Good job.
    Sounds like you never rest girl. Take care and glad life is going good.

  4. The new chairs look wonderful and so do the bathroom cabinets! yeah for storage!

    When you said you took the photos at dawn, what time is dawn in Alaska in the winter?

    Fresh snow makes everything so peaceful, quiet and beautiful.

  5. I love your snow photos and well done to your daughter. First Aid training is so important.