Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Frugal, and Goals, Recap for May

Sorry that I totally punted on blogging last month.  It ended up being busy, and trying.

Let's break down a bunch of stuff that happened on the medical front.

Well, the results of my X-rays came back.  I have deterioration in my lumbar discs in my back, but, bright side, it is "within normal range" which means surgery isn't necessary as of yet.  So, I gave the medications a chance to work that they gave me.  Honestly?  The anti-inflammatory drug they gave me does seem to help a bit, but I was really hoping it would work better than it does.  It is still really hard to get comfortable and sleep at night.  For instance, last night I actually slept for the first time in about a week where I wasn't up every 20 minutes in nasty discomfort.  It stinks, but it is what it is.  The doctor is talking about sending me to physical therapy, which I honestly have no idea how I'm going to afford that, so we'll see how that goes.

Then there is poor Armina.  She has been having major issues with her gut since she had Covid and I finally called the doctor again and said we needed her to be seen and figure out how to help her.  We ended up having to take her in for a series of X-rays on her gut.  The results of those X-rays have led us to a series of colon clean outs.  We are on series two now.  It seems to be helping and after it is all said and done she will hopefully be back to "default setting" on her gut and we can start to work on rebuilding her gut flora and general digestive health.

In the middle of my X-rays and the daughter's X-rays my husband finally couldn't take the stress and ended up with really awful headaches from tension and stress on top of other symptoms.  So, another doctor visit was in order for him and now he's on new blood pressure meds, new headache meds and other things.  It was not a fun time for any of us, I have to say.

Even poor Alvah wasn't spared.  He has been on Atorax/Hydroxizine for years for his eczema and he is also on it to help with anxiety with his autism.   Well, after over 10 years of everything going smoothly in that department (he's been on atorax on and off for a long time) and the hydroxizine really seeming to help with his itching the last year or so, the darned labs threw me a curve ball.  The lab that made the hydroxozine that Alvah tolerated so well stopped making the darned stuff and so all the pharmacies switched to a new lab.  Well, the new lab makes truly AWFUL tasting hydroxizine.  I can barely choke down a taste of the stuff, let alone trying to get 2+ teaspoons down my kid.  So, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time the last bit educating myself on what hydroxizine does, how it works on the body and everything to see what I can to do replicate the benefits of the drug for my son so that he gets the calming effects he needs as well as relief from his itching.  For a person who could not fathom chemistry in school to save her life, it has been a steep learning curve for sure.  But, I think I finally have a plan, have cleared it with the doctors that I wanted to ask about it (allergist, pediatrician, psychiatrist, etc) and have serotonin drops, dissolving Zyrtec tablets and things to work with coming in within the next couple of weeks.  Hopefully this works.  Fun, fun times.

So, yeah, saving money hasn't been going so well of late.

But, I did get a bunch of stuff, despite everything, done around here, so let's get to more constructive lines of thinking.

1.  I got a bunch of things marked off my "to do" list last month.  For one, I made new cushions for the loveseat, the chairs, and even made a new throw pillow to put on the recliner in my bedroom for when the room got repainted.  I just made new yellow cushions out of the same sheet I had made the original cushions for the chairs, so the cushions don't look any different on those (the pic I took of them didn't turn out, so just picture them in your head *laugh*).  For the loveseat I used a brown microfiber sheet for the brown cushions that I had found at the used stores years ago.  The blue cushions I made by taking pillow shams that came with a quilt I got for my bed (you'll see it in the "before" shots a bit later in this post) and I just cut down the pillow shams a bit and made throw pillows out of them.  No matter how much I try, I out and out prefer pillow cases to pillow shams.  I just plain am not a fan,  So, I thought I'd turn them into something that I did like :).

2.  I got school buttoned up for the kids for the year and got us on summer break (thus why I got throw pillows done, as school was taking up pretty much every available moment that wasn't health related before then).  With Armina's health being so cruddy, it was a struggle to get everything done, but we were determined and were able to pound it out.  I was really proud of her for being such a trooper. 

3.  Speaking of "before" shots in #1, well, after two years of working like a demon, I FINALLY got my master bedroom repaired and painted!!!  Man, it was a challenge.  Not only does my husband have a bunch of stuff that I had pull out, box up, move around, etc, but then I don't think the room was ever painted since it got textured originally and the walls just absorbed paint.  I went through two gallons of paint and was worried I was going to have to go and buy more!  It was crazy.  But, yeah, here's a shot of the room in progress, complete with cat "helping"...

Taken with my phone if you are wondering why it is a wonky looking scale compared to the other photos.  I couldn't dig out my camera to save my life during that entire process *laugh*.

This was after I got the TV set back up and was starting to pull off the painters tape everywhere and then the massive amount of touch ups started.  It took forever to get the paint even with how the walls kept absorbing the paint.

But, here's the finished product...

The photo came out with a wonky reflection point above the window I noticed.  I moved my desk from the den into the bedroom so I could actually use it as it kept getting buried in the den by fold out chairs and things since it is kind of a catch all room and Grand Central Station around here.  I really love it where it is now.   

I moved a bunch of things around in my closet and put a bunch of stuff in there that I'd rather just have out of the main bedroom and I moved my dresser over by the bed so I could get to it easier.  I put the spinning wheel lamp that used to be my husband's grandparents on top of my dresser for not only decoration (it goes great with the 70s decor), but also for additional light as the light in my bedroom was bad before but with the blue paint versus white it can get DARK in there now.  I'm hoping my husband will put up the light fixture we bought for the room here soon, but in the meantime we got lamps.  Lots of lamps *laugh*.  I took some old lamps we had around here and put some new lamp shades on them, so we have bedside lamps as well as the dresser lamp.  I then got some LED light bulbs for my frog lamp (on top of my desk there) so I can light it up without it getting hot, which I love honestly as I've never used it much because of the heat thing.  I also took the suitcase record player we got at a yard sale for like 2.00 and put under my jewelry box so we can use it when we want (I really need to figure out how to remove the gals name from the player eventually).  

Our avocado green recliner that was splitting it's vinyl on the seat, I got a slipcover for in brown and put one of the new yellow throw pillows on it.  It is MUCH more comfortable to sit on now.  We got the chair for like 4.00 years ago at a used store that had gotten a ton of them in from somewhere and it has mainly housed laundry over the years (sad, but true) that I needed to fold.  Now with the slipcover and the neat look, I find that I'm keeping laundry folded to keep it off of the chair *laugh*.  Double bonus :).

So, yeah, I'm happy as punch with how it turned out and love not seeing popping nails and horrible cracks in sheet rock everywhere.  Now I just need to get my hallway and stairway painted (which will be all white, so hopefully that'll at least go quick when I get to it) and the painting on the inside of the house will be done (okay, I have to do the kid's bathroom, but I don't count that as it is my fault for not putting enough paint on the walls originally).

So, yeah, making progress!  Yay!

4.  Well, the Monopoly game for Carrs/Safeway ended.  I put in all of the crazy amount of codes we ended up receiving the last week of the contest (like we had gotten some freebies before, but my husband came home with 97 tickets one night.  Those took a while to put in online).  

I went to the store armed with "cash prizes" loaded on my card as well as a bunch of freebies to get and I was actually really lucky to find most of the things we won.  I found ONE spot in the back of the store with bottles of water and was able to get all six of the ones we had won, got our free thing of Mayonnaise, out free thing of salad dressing, BBQ sauce, sparkling water, sour cream, water crackers and the free loaf of French bread.  I used the cash prizes to get some bratwurst and some spreadable butter (both of which were things we needed).  The only things I missed out on was a thing of cooking spray and a seasoning packet (because all they had was taco seasoning and I did NOT need that, so I passed).

But, yeah, for not actively participating in the game at all through the majority of the time it was going on, I was happy with what we won at the last minute :).

5.  I made curtains for the den, finally!  I took the room darkening panels off the back of the curtains that I had gotten at the used store and had tacked up.  I then put up curtain rods on both sides of the room (not the cheapest thing to get, but worth it for the sake of being able to open the curtains and let light in), took some king sized sheets and cut them down, sewed them all up with the room darkening panels on the back and voila!  Curtains!  I am investing in thicker curtains for winter as the curtains came out kind of light and won't block the cold so well, but overall, I am happy as it is nice being able to open the curtains and let light in and then being able to close them at night so people can't look in all the time :).

And, obviously, the cats like them too.

6.  We have been staying home for the most part and I have been baking a lot, which definitely saves you money as it keeps you out of the stores.  I even made gingerbread for my family for the first time and we are going to have that for dessert tonight.  I'm hoping Alvah will eat it as he LOVES gingerbread cookies, so here's hoping as it would be one step closer to me being able to hide nutrition in said gingerbread.

7.  My husband loves spreadable/creamed honey and since I have beans I've been making more chili of late, so he has been blowing through the creamed honey.  Only problem is that it isn't available at my local store anymore, so I end up having to buy it online and it is EXPENSIVE!  I went online and found a tutorial on how to make your own creamed honey using creamed honey you already have to "seed" liquid honey and it would make new creamed honey.  I was really wanting to save the money from having to buy some more creamed honey, so I mixed 1 part creamed honey to 10 parts liquid honey, stirred it once a day for about three days and then stuck it in the fridge for about four more days (my kitchen wasn't getting cold enough for the honey to crystalize right).  I then took it out of the fridge, stirred it up again (carefully as it was really thick after being refrigerated) and then just stuck the container in the cupboard with the creamed honey.  Checked on it after a couple of days and loe and behold I had creamed honey!!!  For WAYYYYY cheaper than I would have been able to buy it at the store.  I am thrilled as I can continue to use each batch of new creamed honey to seed a new batch, so I won't have to buy creamed honey again unless I want to.  Yay!!!  I love it when things actually work *laugh*.

8.  I have been enjoying watching videos on YouTube and things on Prime Video on Amazon.  My husband and I have started to slowly go through out multitudes of old VHS tapes that we have accumulated at used stores and things over the years and have started putting ones aside that we have in other formats (preferably digital so I don't have to worry about Alvah wrecking it on DVD).  I'm hoping that we can really start to reduce the amount of VHS tapes and things we have as we have just boxes and boxes of VHS tapes stacked in the den and around the house.

9.  No picture as I forgot to take one, but I finally put together the video/multi-media shelf that I had bought years ago.  It matches the black one that is currently in my living room hallway (you'd see it in the background when I showed putting up Christmas decorations and things).  I had avoided putting up the second shelf as my husband thought the original one looked cheap and he wasn't a big fan and honestly I wanted to wait a good long time before putting another shelf in the hallway until I was sure a second one wasn't going to make things difficult in the walkway.  I was happy with how well it opened up spaces in other areas, like the dresser I have been using under the TV in the living room was just pull of DVD's and things, so I was able to get all of those out where we could actually see them and then I was able to clear some shelves on the big bookcase in the living room so I had room to put the cookbooks I use most often and some commonly used school supplies to save us from having to run up and down the stairs all the time.  

I don't think it is a favorite item to my husband, but after seeing what lumber is going for at the moment and seeing how nice the shelf was able to make the living room look by decluttering the big bookcase and things, well, he seems to have come around and seems to not mind it *laugh*.  

10.  Speaking of lumber costs and things, when I rearranged my bedroom, I wanted to make sure to give my husband a bedside table as he's been without one for years.  I ended up giving him mine as it has a drawer and houses the heating pad and a massager (which he uses those for his neck a lot, so it made more sense for them to be on his side of the bed) and instead of buying a new table for myself, I  just used a small fold up table that we used to use as an end table in our last house years ago and has kind of just moved from place to place in our new home.  It isn't ideal, for sure, but it was free and it works, so I'm okay with it.

So, yeah, I am going to leave it there for now.  I've got to work on goals for this month and things, so I'm going to call it good.  How about you all?   Get things done in May?   


  1. Check Vitacost.com for honey. They have good prices and usually send you a coupon or coupon code. Sorry you have had such a rough time. Take care of yourselves.
    Barb in PA

  2. Great job! Hope everyone is starting to feel better. CBD oil is a great anti-inflammatory you might want to try. It sure helps me.

  3. Please give physical therapy a try and tell them that you need exercises you can do at home. The PTs I've had over the years can print out instructions for the exercises and if you do them diligently at home it really cuts down on the number of PT visits to those needed to move you to the next level of exercises. PT is also surprisingly effective if you are consistent in doing what is prescribed at least in my experience.

  4. I was going to suggest what Juhli suggested. We can’t afford many hundreds in PT, either. On the other hand, i goooogled yoga exercises for bad back and follow several of those. I have degenerative disc disease, mild scoliosis and a ‘touch’ of osteoporosis. Also, i take two meds. It took years for me to find the right combination that worked best for me and my issues. (And, the right Dr.!) You’ve got a lot going on so your stress levels must be through the roof. That might be something to work on in conjunction with everything else. Good luck to you! I know it sounds lame but you’re no good to anyone else if you’re not good to yourself, first.

  5. Have you ever tried a chiropractor? I went to one when I was having terrible back pain, saw my dr and had multiple meds. Within a week it was all better! I was amazed

  6. We use wooden tv trays for bedside tables. We only sleep in our room and really no one else sees them. It works for us.