Monday, July 27, 2020

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (Plus a Garden Update)

Okay, first, I just want to assure everyone that no, we were no where NEAR where that really big earthquake was and we are just fine :).  Actually, we didn't feel a thing (for which I'm thankful for, honestly), not even a tiny tremor as the earthquake was WAY far South of where we are.   Even my husband's uncle, who lives down South, said everything was fine where he was, so it's all good.  I'm sorry if I panicked everyone by not posting after the earthquake.  Honestly I didn't even know it happened until my mom called me in a panic because the news reports were mentioning Anchorage (which is on the coast thus part of the tsunami warning that went out to basically the entire coast of Alaska) and she knew that my husband worked in that area and was all worried he was taken out by a tsunami or something.

I was going to blog earlier (to help assure people we were okay), but was down all weekend pretty much with a bad headache (at least typing was not on my list of "can dos"), so that didn't happen. 

Right, so let's get down to other business.

What have I been up to lately?  Well, I finally got independent learning plans (or ILPs) into the home school and got those approved for the kids.  Curriculum that I ordered through the home school came in (including the Radish box and Kiwi crates, which astounded me how fast we got those in), I got the one book that is on back order with Moving Beyond the Page ordered and in and we are ready to go to start school next week (a couple of weeks early compared to the public schools up here, but we want to bank some time ahead so we can hopefully take December off for the Christmas holidays :).  It was such a HUGE relief to get that all done and supplies in as there is a huge demand for home schooling right now (go figure) and so a lot of home schooling curriculum suppliers are running out of things pretty fast.  Thank goodness I'm kind of obsessed with getting things done in and in early, so we are at least good to go and I don't have to panic about trying to figure out where to find materials.

The next thing I've been working on is I have been working my tail off trying to get my bedroom to not be a horrible cluttered mess.  This had to start somewhere so I ended up having to clean my bedroom closet first (you can scream like a scream queen from a horror movie now as that is pretty much what I did when I opened up the closet and saw what was ahead of me *laugh*).  I brutally decluttered things out of the closet and moved things around, which led to me donating a bunch of things to the used stores, but got me to a point that I was able to fit a couple of big items in the bedroom into the closet, thus giving me room to move stuff around.  I've got plans for the bedroom in the next couple of weeks and am trying REALLY hard to get it painted this week if I can, so hopefully it'll all work out so I can get done before school work starts up again.

The next big thing that happened was the son's sleeping medication just plain stopped working.  It has been slowly getting worse in its effectiveness, but this last week it just plain quit.  I started giving him the max dose I was allowed to give him to see if it would work, but I think all it did was make him sick feeling, because last night I just plain decided not to give him the med (I mean when his sleep schedule has been to sleep from 6 am to noon every day, what is the point?) and he has been so much happier today, so much more energetic and so much more like his old self that I'm really glad I stopped giving him the medication.  I have a virtual appointment with his doctor on Wednesday and we'll see what she has in the way of advice or guidance to see if we can get him a bit more sleep (and better quality of sleep to boot).  I have to say I loved it when he was sleeping and I'm already really missing it as he does okay with little sleep (so it seems), but it is downright killing me.

So, on the money saving front...

1.  We made up our first Radish box "Ticket to Tokyo" last night for dinner.  The son actually did seem happy to help in his own way and tore up a bunch of seaweed sheets when he realized how brittle they were, happy as a clam until mom shrieked like a cartoon character when she realized what he was doing and was able to save two sheets to make the sushi rolls with *laugh*.  Luckily, I was was able to save the torn seaweed sheets and added some to the yakisoba noodles (basically noodle stir fry) and it just added one more veggie to the mixture.  I did NOT use short grain rice for the sushi rolls and just used the medium grain rice I had in our normal stores.  It worked perfectly fine, I just added  a bit of extra water to make the rice super sticky when I cooked it :).

The box called for certain vegetables, like Napa cabbage.  Well, Napa cabbage is going for roughly the same amount as a down payment on a car right now (my jaw dropped at the price), so I said "no" to that one and used some bok choy that came with our CSA box instead.  Kohlarbi was one of our vegetables this last week, so I used it in the sushi rolls and in the yakisoba noodles because why not?  And really, everything turned out really well and I was really happy with everything.

Oh and just because I keep forgetting to take pictures of the actual CSA contents when I get them, I figured I'd share a picture of the inside of the fridge instead.  I LOVE having the problem of "where am I going to stick all the fresh produce" when I get some at the moment.  It is a huge thrill for me to have this much fresh produce in the house right now :).

The box called for chicken tenderloins, but unfortunately chicken is really hard to find at the stores right now unless you want wings or a whole chicken (so it seems the few times I go into the store anyway) and I finally ran out of the boneless skinless chicken thighs I got from the butcher.  So, instead of chicken teriyaki skewers we had pork teriyaki and I just ended up baking the pork and peppers in the teriyaki sauce as I don't have any skewers either.  Sometimes you just make do with what you have and call it good.

I used 1/2 of the English cucumber we got in our box the week before last to make pork gyros for dinner one night (I love farm fresh vegetables versus store bought as there is NO WAY a store bought cucumber would last two weeks in the fridge up here) and then I used the other 1/2 in the sushi rolls.  For the gyros I used a pretty old container of plain Greek yogurt I got for free at the beginning of the Monopoly game with Carrs this last go round (before the pandemic made me just not caring about the game anymore).  It was more like cheese versus yogurt so I added a bit of sour cream to it to loosen it up.  It worked great and no one missed the meat being pork instead of chicken, which was good :).

2.  I had wanted to get some really good German take out for the husband for his birthday (it is this week), but our local German restaurant didn't survive the pandemic *sniff*, so I went to good old plan B.  Amazon.  I ordered a German dessert mix and a few small items I'd need to make hunter schnitzel (do not to ask me to give German names to that as I'd slaughter it) and hopefully we'll be good to go on the new "at home restaurant" style meal.  Here's hoping it all works out well.

3.  My electric pressure cooker died on me last night and started leaking steam everywhere and then when I went to use it again (after replacing the sealing ring and a deep, deep cleaning) to give it a heat up and then a pressure test it failed both admirably well.  I use the pressure cooker actually quite regularly, especially to cook things like beans, so I know I'm going to have to get a new one.  I am depressed about it, I'll admit it, as it is going to cost a decent amount of money to replace (at least as small appliances go).  I redeemed my credit card rewards through Amazon (that I got for ordering the kid's home schooling curriculum stuff through and will get reimbursed for) and will be able to get at least 30.00 off with gift cards, so that is something anyway.

I am definitely not going with a Gourmia brand one this time, that's for sure.  That sucker lasted less than two years and I sure did not use it everyday like a lot of people do with their pressure cookers (and yes, I called the company to ask their advice and didn't get anywhere).  I guess with pressure cookers you get what you pay for.

Anyone got recommendations on a good brand of pressure cooker to buy?  I'm not sure if I want to buy an Instant Pot as it sounds like the quality control is all over the place (at least via Amazon reviews), so I'm definitely open to advice in this area.

4.  I had a personalized price of .43 per lime this week at Carrs (UNHEARD of cheap), so I used the personalized price to get 5 limes through my online order.  Since the personalized price was for large limes (which is all they have listed online), but the store didn't have any, they replaced my 5 large limes with 5 small ones, but only charged me for one large lime.  So, I got 5 small limes for .43!  I have to say as awesome goes that was pretty awesome!

5.  I continued my quest to fill up my pantry as much as possible before winter.  I took what I had left from my grocery budget after getting what we needed at the store and ordered things from Amazon in bulk to fill in holes.  I got enchilada sauce really cheap (like 12 big cans of enchilada sauce for less than 12.00, which at the store those size of cans normally got for at least 3.00 per can) and a flat of  Van Camps baked beans for decently cheap (I'm trying to make things like baked beans from scratch as much as I can...or at least I WAS until my pressure cooker died, but I wanted to make sure I had them for those nights when you just don't have the energy to bother).  I also blanched and froze bok choy and kale from our CSA box to add to out winter stores as well.

6.  I requested a free sample of unscented/hypoallergenic spray deodorant to try out on the son and see how he reacts to it.  The free sample shipped this week, so we'll see how it does when it gets here.

7.  We ended up with hornets building a nest in our roof, and at a really nasty spot to get to.  I went and bought Raid at the store (which you need a treasure map to find hornet killer it turns out), which turned out to be on clearance, so I got it for 50% off normal price (which was nice as I had to guy two containers worth to get rid of the hornets).  My husband managed to outlast the hornets by spraying the entrance to the nest enough that it seems like the hornets finally died or moved on.  Since the nest was right by our front door, I was happy to see them go.

8.  Our lawn mower broke down for the first time in eight years.  It is a 30 year old lawn mower (at least) and has worked really well for us, so my husband is going to attempt to get parts and fix it (it is a Craftsman brand, so goodness knows if parts are available or not anymore with Sears going out of business).  Here's hoping it can be fixed.

9.  I fixed a couple of holes in a comforter and hemmed a few pairs of pants this week.

And now onto the garden update!

If there was one word I could give to my garden the last little bit, it would be "ignored".  Between the son not sleeping, his eczema going crazy, all the home school stuff I've been juggling and everything else going on (new pay schedule at work for the husband, allergy flare up with the daughter so we have to make sure her eye isn't swelling up on her, etc etc), I just plain forget about it sometimes as we've been getting enough rain I haven't had to worry about it dying from not getting enough water or anything.  I finally went and checked it yesterday for the first time in a couple of days.  I have to say out of everything the weeds are growing the best. 

The lettuce was finally grown enough that I thinned it a bit and we tried the lettuce.  It is VERY bitter tasting, probably due to all of the rain we've been having and I'm going to have to use it sparingly.  Luckily we've been getting an entire head of lettuce each week from the CSA (and a huge head at that), so we aren't hurting for salad fodder, but that was kind of depressing.  We have a few broccoli sprouts that survived whatever bug onslaught was taking them out, but they are so small I doubt they'll get to a point I can harvest anything by the end of the summer.  The peas are growing (yay) and I keep putting them onto the trellis to climb and keep them off the ground (they stay on the ground they are getting eaten, so I want to make sure they have every chance to get big and produce).  The peas are a variety that only grown to about 2 feet in height before producing, so I'm kind of hopeful they'll start producing peas sometime soon.  If I only get potatoes and peas out of the garden this year that'll be something and I'll count my blessings :).

And there you go folks.  An update on what we've been up to this last week.  How about you?  Been up to anything?

Friday, July 17, 2020

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (and a Garden Update)

Yippee!  I'm finally doing this post on a Friday! 


Yes, things like this make me happy.


What?  Stop giving me that weird look.

It's the small things in life.  What can I say?

For once I purposefully decided to put off blogging so I could do this post on an actual Friday and hopefully get back onto a more even blogging schedule.  Honestly, it's been busy enough that it was probably best that I waited.

So, what has happened the last bit?

Well, home school stuff was a big portion of what I've been up to.  This year I am determined to have more of a REAL curriculum planned for Alvah instead of winging it from quarter to quarter.  So, the last weeks has seen me planning, planning and planning some more.  Bright side, some materials have come in so I can get my first round of reimbursements submitted to the home school today and then supplemental learning materials I ordered SHOULD be in by early next week, so yay for that!  The last few days I've just been putting together the learning plans for the kids (with the daughter it is just two classes that I'm doing myself; art and home economics, but the son is everything).  I got the daughter's art class plan done and submitted to our contact teacher to see what she thinks of it (she's on vacation till Tuesday, so we'll see what she thinks when she gets in) and the supplemental materials for the class ordered.  Yesterday I spent the entire day, pretty much, doing a list of books, publishing information and the other nitty gritty types of things for the son's learning plan.  I got through general education materials (books, work books and the like) that goes on all school year and encompasses all semesters.  Today I hope to start on the semester specific lists.  I hope our contact teacher likes to read as the learning plan for the son will be thorough, but it is going to be long *laugh*.

I also broke down and out and out forced my husband to go and get a new mattress last weekend.  I didn't want to pay for it any more than he did, but it got to the point that our old bed was, quite literally, crippling me.  It got to a point where I was having to sleep on multiple pillows just so I could get my leg aches down to a point that I could ignore it enough to get some crappy quality of sleep and my arms were in such bad shape I'd wake up every twenty minutes to roll over because the arm I was sleeping on had gone numb.  I used some of the dividends to pay for the mattress and I was depressed to find that since we'd been to the mattress store, what, a month or so ago, that the prices had doubled and/or tripled in some cases due to Covid.  I paid the price and flinched, a lot, but I am so glad we got a new mattress.  I've been able to sleep again and wake up without being in complete agony.  That, to me, is worth its weight in gold.

For some reason, when it comes to painting, my neck and shoulder going out one me really took the wind out of my sails and I've had a really hard time getting motivated to start on my master bedroom.  Since this is last "official" room in the house that I have to repair and paint you'd think I'd be gung ho to get it done, but it's been hard to get my bottom motivated to start on it.  I'm hoping next week will be the week that I'm able to finally get that room done.  After that it's just the stairways/landing, which is going to be the hardest spots in the house, so at least I'm getting there.

So, let's get to some other things that have been going on around here...

1.  I have been absolutely loving our CSA box through Pyrah's Pioneer Peak Farm (just a shameless plug for the farm as it is awesome).  Last week we got a loaf of artisan bread (which didn't last through dinner), strawberries (which didn't last through the night because we ate them for dessert), collard greens (got blanched and frozen as soon as we got home as they were wilted from driving in the hot car), lettuce (we've been eating lots of salads around here :), three ginormous potatoes and some basil. 

I was really excited about the basil as I had a great plan for some of it.  I took the tomato from the previous week's box that I had left, sliced the tomato up and made myself some tomato slices with basil and mozzarella cheese.  I ended up eating the entire tomato in this format for lunch and it was delicious (a couple of slices seen above).

2.  One of the add on things you can buy with the CSA boxes is culinary lavender that is grown locally.  I was talking to the gal who was running the CSA pick up table and she told me that lavender lemonade was to die for.  Well, I had lemons in the fridge and some sweetened condensed milk to use up from making Brazilian Lemonade.  So, I took one cup of lavender syrup, one cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice, six cups of water and a half of a can of sweetened condensed milk and mixed it all in a pitcher and made my own creamy lavender lemonade!  I ended up having to add some extra sugar (believe it or not), but the lemonade was super awesome yummy!  I pretty much ended up drinking the whole pitcher myself *laugh* (pic seen up top and above).

In other news the weather has been so cold, rainy and odd this summer that I'm so, SO glad I shelled out the money for the CSA box.  It has really taken the stress off of me about the garden HAVING to do well no matter what.  With the supplemental stuff from the CSA it has really been a great to not panic if a bug has eaten off the seedlings, again, from the broccoli I planted and stuff like that. 

3.  Carrs/Safeway started their own, kind of odd, version of "Freebie Friday" like Kroger used to do.  Except Carrs/Safeway does it on Saturday.  You load a coupon for a free item onto your card (you have to be signed up for their e-mails to get in on this I think) and then you only have till Monday to redeem said coupon.  I always load the coupon for the freebie item, but had never gotten to the store on a Monday to redeem one.  This week, however, we ended up running low on milk and a few other things before our usual Wednesday shopping trip, so I was able to add a container of shredded Parmesan cheese to my order and I get it for free.  Cesar salad is definitely on the menu plan for next week :).

4.  I signed up for a freebie Charmin toilet paper extension for the bathroom so that we could use the "mega" rolls of toilet paper in the bathrooms in the future if we need to (I made the mistake of buying some mega rolls from Amazon last year and the paper would not fit in our master bathroom and just ended up being a nightmare).  The freebie actually came really fast and I was happy to get that in the mail this week.

5.  I ended up going into Carrs (like into the store) last night to pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner (I had a personalized price of 4.49 for a chicken this week and we didn't want to pass that up).  While there I found that they had pork chops on sale for 1.79 lb if you bought the entire loin cut into chops.  I have been wanting to go to the butcher shop to purchase more pork as we are starting to run low, so I was thrilled to find the sale.  I picked up two huge packages of pork chops for 15.00 or less each and got them in the freezer when I got home.  I am so paranoid about keeping everything stocked as stocked can be anymore as the price on things keeps going up, availability is still questionable (like I had to order an 8 pack of toilet bowl cleaner and a big container of dishwasher rinse aid from Amazon as I couldn't find it at my local stores) and I'm worried about what the fall and winter will bring.  So, I'm just rolling with my paranoia at this point and stocking up on things. If I don't have to buy much at the store this winter I'm not going to cry, let's put it that way :).

While in Carrs I hoped to score some pita bread as the daughter wants to have gyros for dinner since we were able to get a cucumber in our CSA box this week (I am going to take a picture of our haul from this week and share it later as it is pretty spectacular), but they were, once again, out.  So, I am going to try my hand at making them from scratch this weekend.  Wish me luck as I've never done it before.

6.  The weather was going to get hot again this week and when I saw the weather report I knew that I wasn't going to want to bake anything once the temps got hot at around dinner time.  So, I did my baking the day before the weather heated up.  I even made a cake with lemon custard filling (which went into the fridge and I forgot to take a picture of) so we'd have a nice cool dessert to eat throughout the week.  It worked out great and I am SO glad that I did a baking day when I did.

I even baked some cookies for my husband to take into work.  They were a thank you present for a co-worker who had given my husband some really nice tools and things that he didn't want anymore and had refused to take any money in repayment for the tools.  He likes cookies, so we gave him cookies instead *laugh*.

7.  I found "Tasting History" on YouTube and have been having a great time watching all of his videos as they are a lot of fun and really engaging.  He's one of my top three channels I watch now.  I watch Party Kitchen (their closed caption/subtitled videos anyway), Townsends (always a favorite) and Tasting History regularly and it has been really relaxing for me to watch their videos :).

8.  I harvested some chives and some green onions/scallions from the garden.  Not much, but it's something :).

9.  I got my new cell phone in the mail and spent a lot of time texting people my new number (it's amazing how many people you have to get in contact with to change over cell numbers when you have a special needs child) and getting my contacts switched over to my new phone.  Not quite done, but I'm getting there.

10.  I used credit card rewards to help toward buying my husband some birthday gifts.  It was nice being able to save a few pennies doing it that way.

Right, so let's get to a garden update!

Well, things are growing.  The chard has not done much, no matter what I do with it, which is sad as I love chard and it is supposed to take cooler weather well.  Oddly enough I have to date not had much luck growing chard from seed, but if I pick up seedlings and plant them it does fine.  Go figure. 

The lettuce is starting to finally grow a bit taller.  I'm hoping to get it a point where I can thin it this week without worrying about ripping all of the little seedlings out of the ground.

The peas are enjoying the weather this summer and are growing taller every day.  Since this is one crop I was really hoping would do well this year I'm hopeful that I might get a decent amount of peas out of the plants. 

I was able to save some water this last week as we got so much rain (some downpours were so hard I was worried my garden would just wash away by the end of it) that I was able to skip watering it, which was nice.

One crop that is LOVING the weather this year is the potatoes.  The plants are growing by leaps and bounds and if they keep up this way I'm really hoping I'll have a nice crop by the end of it.  They have actually grown in the last couple of days since I took these pictures.  They are impressing me.   At this point I'm mainly worried about blight getting them since it has been so wet, but so far they are looking good.  Same with the peas.  No powdery mildew has attacked them yet,  So, here's hoping!

And there you go folks.  Some of the things I've been up to the last bit.  How about you?  Been up to anything lately?

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (Times 3) and Garden Update

Well, hello again everybody!  I hope everyone in the US had a good Fourth of July yesterday. 

It's been a mixed bag of crazy around here the last three weeks.  So, let's just get down to it.

Father's Day weekend ended up being a complete flop around here.  Our friend Roger, a very spry 73 year old who took wonderful care of himself, died suddenly in, of all things, a gardening accident.  Roger was a really close friend of my husband and they had been home visiting companions for a long time before Roger moved to Utah to be around his grand kids years ago.  I didn't know Roger that well when he moved as he moved right about the same time I married my husband and moved to Alaska, but Roger and I were constant Facebook companions and got to be good friends that way.  It was a shock to say the least and it has been hard on a lot of people losing such a great man.  Roger was very active in the historical village community and worked as wood wright for years as a volunteer and got to know a good amount of people that way, not to mention his other charitable works, his career as a teacher before he retired and other things.  It did comfort me a bit and I was able to comfort my husband by telling him that Roger died doing two of the things he loved most in the world.  Gardening and spending time with his wife. 

Due to Covid there was an online funeral via Zoom we were able to attend, so I felt good knowing that my husband could at least "be there", even if he couldn't be there in person.

The husband and son got colds at the same time and the husband is still feeling pretty ucky, so Fourth of July ended up being kind of a wet blanket too.

But, there has been some good that has happened the last bit, so let's get to that.

1.  Our CSA box started this last week and I have to say that I'm impressed so far.  We received tomatoes, bok choy, rhubarb, lettuce, carrots and kale.  I hope the volume of veggies keeps up like this through the summer because if it does I might be able to preserve a decent amount of stuff.  Today I'm going to blanch and freeze the bok choy and the kale.

2.  I got a great price on green cabbage at the store (.69 lb) so I got three cabbages as part of my online order this week.  So, be prepared for me sharing some new cabbage recipes here in the next bit (yes, I am getting back to blogging this month.  I'm determined :).

3.  We received our mineral rights dividends on July 1st this year versus in October.  Because the dividend came in early, Christmas shopping for the kids got done in July versus October (odd, I know, but I wanted to make sure I got the presents while we had the money to do it) and I paid off one bill.  We have so many expenses coming in (medical bills, we need to buy a new mattress, etc) that I'm being super careful to try and spend the money wisely.  We'll see how it goes.

4.  We went and picked up 9 buckets of hard white spring wheat from my brother-in-law that was a part of the free food storage he and my sister-in-law had gone and picked up from a family that was moving a while back.  When we were offered the wheat we were not going to turn it down, so we picked it up and put it into the garage until I can find a better place for it.

5.  Speaking of wheat, I FINALLY got my wheat grinder in!  The wheat grinder works well and the grinding burrs and stones have a lifetime guarantee on them, but man getting this thing was a nightmare and the customer service was non-existent.  Believe it or not what finally got the wheat grinder shipped to me was me calling the company (again as I'd called and e-mailed many times to check on things over the months) and cancelling my order because Amazon had wheat grinders in stock and the 2 to 3 week delay in shipping that the company had kept assuring me was holding true for their orders had turned into a near 3 MONTH period where they hadn't even activated my order yet so I was seriously thinking that I was never going to get the wheat grinder  I told them to cancel the order, they shipped the wheat grinder on a Saturday and I received it the same day the charge appeared on my credit card.  Thank goodness Amazon was able to cancel the order I had placed through them for a wheat grinder or I would have not have been a happy camper.

Anyway, yay I finally got a wheat grinder and it fits in the spot I had picked for it on the new kitchen cart.  Always nice when a plan comes together.

6.  I was gifted a bunch of apples as a gift for my anniversary.  So, I canned a LOT of applesauce.  I harvested a bunch of rhubarb from my plant, made rhubarb sauce and mixed it with some spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of allspice) and then mixed it with applesauce to make rhubarb applesauce (obviously). 

I realized that I was going to be short on pint jars to jar up all of the applesauce so I took some empty applesauce jars I had from applesauce I had bought a few years ago and had been saving and froze 8 pints of the rhubarb applesauce in jars and then a couple pint equivalents in freezer bags as well (I froze the jars with no lids on them so the sauce could expand in the freezer and it worked great). 

I then took the rest of the applesauce and sweetened it a bit and jarred it up.  I ended up with a lot of applesauce, which I'm very happy about as we actually eat it quite a bit, and I put those up in the pantry a few days ago (I had the boxes of jars of applesauce on my counter top till's been busy).

7.  I started finding ants in the house and was paranoid about those suckers finding food in here, so I went out to the shed, dug out the diatomaceous earth I had bought several years ago to battle the spider mites when they were invading and spread a nice thick layer around the house.  So far it is working well and the big pile I dumped on top of the ants nest that was right against the house seems to have made the ants life more than a little hard.

8.  For Father's Day the one thing that my husband really wanted for dinner was BBQ hamburgers.  I went and tried to clean my old grill only to have things start to disintegrate on me as I cleaned it.  When the grill covers started to actually fall apart as I was cleaning it, I knew that it was time for a new grill.  I was just going to make burgers on the stove, but the husband decided we should just buy a new grill.  We didn't want to spend a lot of money, so we went online and found a grill on sale at Home Depot with an online sale for less than 100.00.  We placed the order online and went and picked it up at the store.  They even fully assembled the grill for us before we picked it up, which was nice as we didn't request that they do that.  It works well.  It's smaller than our old grill, but I'm okay with that. It cooks well which is the most important thing.

9.  I painted the daughter's room and painted the upstairs hallway.  So, officially, the upstairs is done!  Yay!  

10.  Painting over my head so much took a toll on me and my neck and shoulders ended up flaring up horribly.  My sister-in-law, a massage therapist, was nice enough to work on me and gave me some stretches to help.  I'm in a lot better shape thanks to her.  We'll invite her family over for dinner sometime, hopefully soon, to thank her for helping.

11.  I ended up running out of white paint in the middle of painting the daughter's ceiling.  I ordered more paint online, as well as some cleaning brushes for the paint brushes and things.  I used an online coupon code they had going on to get 40% off of my order and I was able to get curbside pick up for my order.  

12.  I redeemed some credit card rewards for Amazon gift cards and used the money toward buying things for the house and to get the husband some new jeans.  Sears finally closed in our area, so I'm hoping that Amazon will be a good source to buy the husband's preferred brand of jeans from decently cheap.  We'll see when they get here and what kind of quality they are.

13.  My husband bought me some roses for our anniversary on his way home from work.  Our anniversary was spent quietly at home, which was fine by me :).

14.  The used stores reopened up here, so we ended up having to go and buy some clothes.  My husband went in first and bought himself a few shirts and then I went in after he rejoined us and picked up the daughter some new jeans (she's now in the same size of jeans as me now and had been borrowing jeans from me for a couple of months) and I replaced a few pairs that had fallen apart on me as well.  I was also able to pick up some new curtains for my master bedroom (I think they'll fit) that I can hang up after I'm done repairing and painting the room.  I keep hoping to get that room done, but it just hasn't happened yet with everything else that has been going on.  I saved a ton of money compared to going to a store (or ordering from Amazon) and buying new, so I'm happy.

15.  My cell phone has been steadily dying on me and it has gotten to a point that it freezes up on me multiple times a day and isn't holding a charge anymore.  I went and checked with Tracfone, but did not find anything I wanted to purchase through them.  Instead of transferring my number, which was going to be an absolute nightmare with Tracfone (they aren't great about doing stuff like that it turns out), I went to Consumer Cellular (the people who we have my daughter's cell phone through) and just purchased a new phone and just added a new line to my daughter's cell phone plan.  This will allow me to use her unlimited talk and text and share her data plan (all of which she currently doesn't use much at all) and will give me a dependable phone again.  I took advantage of a promotion they were running that allowed me to get a 20.00 credit back when you added a new line, so we'll be seeing that discount on our next bill.

Now I just need to wait for the phone to come in the mail and start transferring my cell number with everyone.  

And now, onto the garden update!

1.  Well, everything in the garden is officially growing, so that's good!  The potatoes finally popped up all over the garden.  Since this was the one crop I really wanted to do well this year, I'm happy to see the seedlings pop up.

The lettuce germinated really well.  I'm going to wait until the seedlings get bigger and then I'll start to harvest the seedlings for baby lettuce in salads while I'm thinning the seedlings out.

Most surprising is that the green onions not only survived, but they seem to actually be growing, so that was a nice surprise!

Even the peas finally germinated and seem to be growing decently well.

The Asian broccoli I planted got mixed in with the lettuce and chard I planted, thanks to my cat, so I'm not really sure what seedlings they are, but I'm hoping that they are germinated and growing.  We'll find out as the plants get older.

And there you go folks.  Some of what life has thrown at us here the last bit.  How about you?  Been busy?