Friday, December 31, 2021

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Hello everyone!

I hope and pray everyone had a great Christmas holiday.  Around here, it was kind of depressing.  My husband started getting sick right about the time I started feeling better from whatever virus I had.  Honestly, I think my husband had been fighting it off for a while, but finally succumbed last week, probably because he knew subconsciously that he was getting really close to his week long vacation (talk about a crappy vacation, though).  It was rough.  He started getting sick on the 19th, had to take the 20th off from work because he went down with the cold HARD.  By Thursday he ended up going to the doctor because he was concerned he had pneumonia.  His lungs were horribly enflamed, tested negative (for the second time that week) for Covid and was sent home with some hefty steroids for his lungs as he was still in the viral stage of the bug.  He's since had to get an antibiotic onboard with his treatment as the steroids helped, but were not making him well, and being as sick as he was he definitely ended up with a secondary infection.  I'm thinking he might be in for a second round of antibiotics before it is all said and done.  The son came down with the virus the day before Christmas, so between the husband and son...Christmas wasn't that great, in all honesty.  By the time my birthday rolled around the daughter had succumbed as well,'s been kind of depressing and worrisome as holidays go for me.  Bright side, the kids are doing alright and getting through this okay.  So, hopefully the family will be better soon.

I'm really looking forward to our immune systems getting back to a normal level.  It seems like everyone around us, including us, is getting sick near constantly as with all of the lockdowns and things everyone's immune systems got compromised because they weren't exposed to germs.  My husband takes precautions at the airport, but it seems like every week there is some new bug making the rounds  at his work and unfortunately some of them have made their way back home.  It is just going to be one of those winters, I think.  I'm making sure to pop my vitamins and copious amounts of Vitamin D (with the polar dark we get up here, we are all deficient in vitamin D and need to take it all year long).  So far, if this is a new virus my husband brought home, I've managed to hold off getting it *knock on wood*, but I'm suspecting my family finally caught the bug I had.  I tried my hardest to make sure they didn't get exposed by me, but when you live in the same house and don't really get to go makes it difficult.  But yeah, let's hear it for vitamins!

On top of the family getting sick, our weather has not been great.  I spent a good couple of hours one day last week shoveling two plus feet of snow off of my deck as we were getting nailed with freezing rain for a few days and I was worried if we were going to get the amount of ice they were predicting I didn't want the weight of the ice accumulating on top of the weight of the snow we'd gotten for fear my deck might collapse from the weight.  We did end up getting a pretty good amount of freezing rain, so I am really glad I decided to do the job.  Our immediate roads are still nasty slippery (some roads are better than others, of course) and today we are getting more snow and then the temperature is set to tank again where we'll be having highs in the single digits.  Not great weather.  Our temps were 12 degrees colder on average this month compared to last year, which my electric (electric supplemental heating system in the house) and the gas bill definitely reflected that.  And honestly I'm grateful that is all we have had to deal with so far, as I've watched what has been going on all over (so many prayers to spread around all over the world right now it seems) and just locally know that a LOT of people (like those in Fairbanks/North Pole/Delta Junction) are WAY worse off than we are.  My prayers are with them as well.

Since we were home all week as I tried to nurse the family back into something resembling good health (lots of soups!!!), I did get some things accomplished, so let's get into those!

1.  I started going into all the nooks and crannies of the house and finding all of my empty mason jars so I have them to use and all in one place so I can find them when I need them (in theory anyway *laugh*).

2.  I emptied out our food storage areas, took inventory of our long term food storage and got everything put away in different areas as my husband needed the corner I had chosen to store my long term food storage for another project.  

3.  The kids got a lot of clothes and bed sheets and things for Christmas this year and, for a change, I was able to get all of the new clothing washed and ready to go within a day of Christmas (I normally have a huge pile of clothes to work through, so this was a real accomplishment for me :).

4.  I tried to fix my Food Saver, but nothing I tried worked, unfortunately.  The pump just will not engage no matter what I try.  My husband has added it to his pile of things to tear apart and try to fix, but in the meantime my sister was nice enough to get me a new food sealer for Christmas, so I won't be without one.  I really want to start using the vacuum sealer more to preserve foods longer, so I was happy to receive it.

5.  I made vegetable beef and barley soup for dinner one night, so I went through all the vegetables in my fridge and freezer and pulled out anything that needed to be used up and made a HUGE pot of soup.  I still have a few containers left in the fridge that I'll put into individual portions and freeze today so we have some ready made soup in the freezer to reheat when we want.  I also refrigerated and then cut and froze individual pieces of mincemeat pie (leftover from Christmas dinner) and cut up and froze what was left of our Christmas Eve lasagna as well.  I'm feeling pretty good that I'll have a few things all set up and ready to go in the freezer for later use AND I didn't have to throw out any left overs.

6.  I needed a few items for the kitchen, so when I had to put medical bills on the credit cards, I took the credit card rewards and redeemed them for Amazon gift cards.  I then used the gift cards to buy the things I needed for no money out of pocket.  

7.  I sat down and made a list of all the rooms in my house and what I wanted to do to get them all cleaned up and spick and span.  My goal is to do a deep clean to help welcome in the new year.  Kind of like wiping the slate clean and just making you feel like you are going into the new year with a clean and fresh spirit.  It just seems like a good idea after the past few years to do anything I can to help bring some happy energy into the house :).

8.  I clipped the cat's claws and brushed their teeth.  With how the cost on everything is going up, I have come to realize that preventative care for everything, including the pets, is going to be even more important, so I am making a point on keeping on top of things in that area.

9.  We took down the Christmas decorations a few days after Christmas and I have to say that while we do love the decorations and lights and everything I do really appreciate the open feeling the room gets when the tree is put away.  It is definitely easier to vacuum once the tree is put away *laugh*.

10.  I had some fuel rewards that were about to expire on my shopping card, so I redeemed them for some baking supplies that were available for December to redeem your points for.  I got a free bag of chocolate chips, a free bag of coconut, a free bag of sugar and a free bag of flour (which I need to pick up next time I'm at the store as I ended up doing seat of my pants shopping last week when I needed to go and pick up prescriptions for my husband at the pharmacy and I completely forgot my shopping list).

11.  My daughter and I sat down, planned out and were able to have her make gifts for everyone this year.  She really worked hard and put a lot of thought and effort into the gifts she made and I have to say that I'm really proud of her as she really GOT the whole concept of giving gifts.  She might not have spent much money on making the gifts she gave, but she put tons of thought and effort into them and that is what it is really about :).  So, yeah, mom brag moment here *laugh*.

12.  Just as a side note, the photo up top is of what we have for daylight this time of year.  I took the photo at about two in the afternoon the day after the solstice.  We DO have light this time of year, just nothing more than a twilight type of light.  It's kind of like the dawn can't get past the starting line this time of the year, but the dawn and dusk light I have to say is pretty when it isn't overcast and such.  All of Alaska is happy that we are past the solstice and are gaining a few minutes of light every day now.  We kind of have a little cheer as soon as the solstice is over.  

So, there you go folks.  Some of the things that have been going on around here.  I am off to clean!  I hope you all have a GREAT New Years and I'll be back with most posts then :).

Monday, December 20, 2021

Christmas 2021, Gift 2: Some Pretty Throw Pillows

Man, getting gifts done this year has been a constant battle!  I spent all of Saturday, a day I really wanted to make a bunch of gifts for the family, working on getting printers set up so that the daughter and husband could make some gifts.  After rebooting networks, finding and replacing ink cartridges, getting print heads aligned and cleaned and everything else, the day was pretty much shot.  Sunday, my son hadn't slept Saturday night, so I was not functioning so well, but I managed to get basics done, like housework.  So, being super productive and getting a bunch of gifts made hasn't really happened.

Bright side, I did find time to quickly get a gift finished for the daughter in the middle of all of the chaos, although it wasn't really a hard gift to do, so let's catalog that anyway!

A while back, I found a good deal on a couple of pretty slip covers for cheap and they have sat in my closet for months.  One of the main things my daughter asked for Christmas early this year was some new throw pillows as the ones I made her in the past are really on their last legs (like one of the pillows I made for her the actual material is starting to develop holes...usually a good indication that the pillow is at the end of its life cycle).  I did my best to mend her current throw pillows and told her I'd aim to get her new ones for Christmas.  So, when I saw these pillow covers, I had to get them for her and make her some replacement throw pillows.  

The pictures really don't do them justice.  The pillows have a pretty graduated pattern of purple to them that fade out into a really light purple grey.  It would have been better as pink (since that is the daughter's favorite color), but I was willing to settle on the color since it was so pretty.

So, I took some leftover unbleached muslin that I had from another project and some stuffing/filling I had and was able to make two pillow forms to fit the pillow covers in no time flat.  The pillow forms aren't perfect, but they are going to spend their lives stuffed into a pillow cover, so I was perfectly content with that *laugh*.  I couldn't really make the pictures pretty before taking the photos of the finished pillows, sorry to say, as I was in a tremendous hurry to stuff said pillows into a big box and get it wrapped before the daughter saw what I was doing, which was harder than I thought it was going to be.

So, two gifts down for the year.  I really don't know if I'll be able to do much more, honestly, as my husband came down with a cold last night and went down hard.  He's pretty miserable.  So, I'm not sure how much I'm going to get done in the gift department when I'm just trying to keep the son from going into my bedroom and waking my husband up.

So, two gifts down for this year.  Here's hoping I can get a few more done before the big day. 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Making Much With Very Little: Stuffed Pepper Casserole

This is one of those recipes that was born out of necessity for me.  See, those of you who live in other climates might be able to go down and get cheap bell peppers, but in Alaska...I've never run into such a thing.  For the most part it seems like you can run into cheap peppers once in a long while, but for the most part you are looking at 1.00+ for a green bell pepper no matter the time of year up here.  So, stuffed peppers weren't really part of my budget.

So, I got a good deal on mini sweet peppers at the store one day recently and decided to try and stuff mini peppers to make stuffed peppers as the daughter wanted to try them.  Results?  Flat pepper halves that were incapable of holding any filling at all.  So, I punted.  I made a batch of stuffed pepper filling and then made the peppers work to make a casserole.  It worked well and the daughter enjoyed the new casserole.

Now, a quick note on stuffed peppers.  I remember my grandmother making stuffed peppers a bunch when I was a teenager and I once asked her why she thought someone had come up with the idea.  She smiled and talked about her mom stuffing every veggie she could think of with meats that were padded out with rice, or bread crumbs or oatmeal.  Anything to make meat stretch and give the family more filler and nutrition from the vegetables and the grains.

I have read a bunch of articles that are saying the produce is going to be going up in price due to a fertilizer shortage, so I wanted to mention a few alternatives here.  One, you can dice up the peppers like I do here and place them in the bottom of your casserole dish so you end up with a bit of a crunch to your peppers.  Or, you can use a bag of frozen onion and pepper mix and use that in with the stuffing to give you the pepper flavor, but yield you a softer pepper.  Or you could cook your peppers with your meat along with your onions if you are using fresh and yield softer peppers that way.  Sky's the limit here.  Go with what you prefer for flavor and texture.

Now, other flavor variations.  You can use diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce in this recipe, which will yield a different texture, but I think it would yield a drier casserole, and I prefer mine to be moist, so go with what you prefer.  If you like it spicy you could add a bit of red pepper flake to the meat, or add a can of sliced chilies...there's a lot of play here and the nice part is that since you are putting in your main casserole all cooked up you can taste your mixture as much as you need to before putting it in the oven :).

So, here you go folks.  Stuffed peppers without stuffing peppers.  Stuffed pepper casserole!

Stuffed Pepper Casserole


  • 1 Cup diced sweet pepper (colored or green, your choice.  I had mini sweet colored peppers so I used those).  This amount can be adjusted up if you want more pepper in your casserole :).
  • 1 cup cooked rice (great use for leftover rice)
  • 1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine (I used a sweet onion)
  • 1 to 2 TBS butter or cooking oil
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder 
  • 1 TBS Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (or more to make a moist mixture.  This may vary depend on what type of rice you are using)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, separated



1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2,  Clean, seed and dice peppers and place in bottom of an 8x8" baking dish.  Set aside.

3.  Place butter or cooking oil into a preheated skillet.  Add onion and turn heat to low.  Sweat onion until it is translucent.  Turn up heat to medium and add ground beef, garlic powder, Italian herb seasoning, salt and black pepper.  Stir constantly until mixture is heated through.

4.  Place rice into a medium sized mixing bowl.  Add beef mixture on top of it.  Mix well.  Add tomato sauce.  Stir mixture again.  Add 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese and mix one more time.  Taste and adjust flavorings or tomato sauce amounts accordingly (you want the mixture to be moist and kind of sticky).  

5.  Spoon rice and beef mixture on top of peppers in pan.  Place the other 1/2 cup of cheese on top of the mixture.  Cover and place in preheated oven.

6.  Bake 25 minutes.  Remove covering and place baking pan back in oven.  Cook an additional 10 minutes to brown up the cheese and the mixture is bubbly.

There you go folks.  Another use for ground meat.  And yes, I say meat.  I'm sure you could use ground chicken or pork and just do the flavorings to your liking.  Since you are dealing with already cooked meat, it should be pretty easy to tailor it to fit your family's individual tastes :).  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Christmas 2021, Gift One: Home Made Lip Balm

When it came to making gifts this year, I decided I would go in a different direction with a few gifts for the family.  So, this year I made lip balms/chap sticks in bulk for my husband and kids.  The main reason there are so many in the photo above is that my son has taken a liking to eating chap sticks over the last year.  I suspect it is because he won't he craves the fat in the chap sticks as he keeps growing every time I look at him.  I've been sourcing all natural options that contain coconut oil and things basically as a sneaky way to sneak "good" fats into his diet versus goodness knows WHAT that is in the good old chemical laden ones, but MAN that gets expensive fast.  So, I decided to dust off of my "I need to make everything because my child is allergic to everything" gloves and ordered the materials to make my own lip balms in bulk for this year's Christmas gift to my family.  And, bonus, this way I'll definitely know what the son is consuming whenever he eats one as there are three ingredients, basically.

I will link to the recipe that I used and to the materials I bought.  Mind you, I went as cheap as I could to source the materials and I wanted a good volume for my buck, so this would give you enough beeswax and coconut oil to probably make lip balms for an army, so just be aware of that when you purchase.  

Note:  The following posts contains NO Associate fee links.  I'm just sharing.  If you wish to support the blog via Amazon purchases, please feel free to hit up the link on the right side of the blog and order whatever you want through the link.  Amazon will give me a small commission for pointing the sale their way if you order through that link and it will cost you nothing extra to do.  If you support the blog in this way, thank you :).

For this Christmas gift I went and purchased the following materials (over like four or five months so as not to break the bank):

  • 105 Pack of Lip Balm Tubes (Assorted Colors)
  • I also got these:  Lip Balm Containers, but man they are TINY.  I won't be buying those again, I doubt.
  • BetterBody Foods Organic Naturally Refined Coconut Oil, 56 oz (I went with refined to avoid the coconut flavor as the son gets funky about these things and my husband prefers neutral flavors in chap stick). 
  • Howemon White Beeswax Pellets, 2 lb bag (Note on this:  Some people were complaining about a chemical smell with the pellets and said they weren't true beeswax.  I didn't have any of those problems.  Mine smelled like nothing offensive and melted just like the refined beeswax pellets I've used in the past, but with shortages your mileage may vary on quality with different sellers on Amazon and things.  I wanted white because I knew my son wouldn't even let me near him with a yellow lip balm.  Anyway, use your own judgement on this product).

I used flavoring oils I already had in the house to flavor different lip balms.  I have to say, if you have a choice, go with the essential oils as they are more powerful and I think work better.  I ended up using at least 20 drops of flavoring oil per batch and the lip balms STILL barely taste like anything.  

The recipe I used to make the lip balms is Coconut Mama's Recipe and I just made a recipe with each flavor.   I found I got 16 lip balms out of each batch versus the yields she shared on her blog, but it might have been variances in materials that caused that to happen (or I'll find huge air bubbles in my lip balms when we go to use them, which would make me feel awful, but I doubt it).   I used olive oil I already had in the house for the third oil :).

Overall, I made four flavors and got a ton of lip balms to put under the tree for the family this year and also have enough materials to make a ton more, so I'd say it was worth it :).

How about you?  Making any gifts so far this holiday season?  My family is going crazy with the home made gifts this year, which I'm loving.  My daughter is making gifts for everyone in the family and some extended family too and even my husband has gotten into making gifts this year.  It is cool :).

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (Times a lot)

First, I want to thank all those who checked in with me the last weeks to see how I was doing.  It has been a bit rough, so if you haven't heard back from me, I WILL try to get back to you and I'm sorry for the delay.

So, what has been going on?  Well, right about the time of my last blog post, I was starting to get sick.  I thought it was allergies, honestly, as the symptoms were kind of come and go like allergies.  But, it just kept going and slowly getting worse.  I had a headache for nearly a week straight, which then went into stomach upset for about a week (thankfully I was able to function while this was going on).  Somehow I held it together pretty well through Thanksgiving and then the weekend after Thanksgiving I went down hard.  I had full blown cold symptoms, lost my voice for three days straight, the whole shabang.  My husband even had to stay home from work one day because I honestly wasn't able to stay awake very well and desperately needed to lie down.  And boy did I sleep.  A lot.  After that it was just fighting horrible, and I mean HORRIBLE fatigue.  Standing up for more than a few minutes was really hard to do and I kept getting winded walking or just out of no where.  My mother-in-law was nice enough to pick me up a home COVID test because she was worried I had it.  It came up negative, so I just tell people I was down with "Not COVID" and leave it at that.  I honestly have no idea what I had, but I don't want it back again if I can help it for sure.  And to those out there who would be concerned, don't worry.  I went no where when I was sick.  Trust me, I wasn't up to going anywhere anyway.

The last week about I've finally gotten some energy and am feeling human again, so I have been working really hard to just get caught up on Christmas stuff around here.  I somehow managed to put up the Christmas tree and decorations the day after Thanksgiving, so at least I didn't have to try and do THAT while barely able to think straight when I was so sick.  But, yeah, Christmas cookie baking and decorating are definitely behind.  We managed to get the gingerbread house made and decorated, which I was happy to be able to do that with the kids, and we baked the cookies yesterday so today is making and putting on frosting and sprinkles.

So, yeah, it's been hectic now that I'm feeling better.  I have NOT forgotten about the different blog posts I have in the works, so stay tuned for that.  I also have a few gifts I'm desperately trying to get done and under the tree by Christmas, so stay tuned for that.  I'm honestly not sure if I'll get all of the gifts done this year as I'm just so far behind, but I figure I'll do what I can and forgive myself the rest.  Some years are like that. 

So, let's get to some money saving things we did the last bit.

1.  Well, this was an interesting frugal fail.  I went to the store before Thanksgiving to get regular groceries and a few last minute little things for Thanksgiving.  I knew I was going to spend enough to get a free turkey, so I figured I'd go and get next year's turkey like I always do and put it in the freezer for later.  Well, this is the sight that met me when I got to the meat section...

Now mind you this was actually a few weeks before Thanksgiving, so I was blown away when I saw that they were completely bare of turkeys.  

I found myself really, really grateful that I had a turkey in the freezer for Thanksgiving.  I feel for those who had to figure out something else maybe because they couldn't find a turkey :(.

Anyway, I knew I wasn't going to be back at the store before Thanksgiving, so as soon as I pulled out the turkey for Thanksgiving I just rearranged the freezer and decided to use the space freed up by the turkey to better store my frozen vegetables.  I decided I wasn't going to worry about not having a turkey for next Thanksgiving at this point.  I have a year.  I'll find something at some point.  And if I don't, we'll have something else next year and we'll be just fine.  Thanksgiving is being grateful for what you have and I was determined to keep that spirit this year.

2.  I took advantage of one Black Friday sale this year.  My daughter desperately needed a new winter coat as she's grown into a woman's size versus a kid's size now.  I HATE buying winter gear this time of year as you end up spending full price on it, but I knew it was necessary.  My mom sent us a check for Christmas (thanks, mom!) and I ended up using a good portion of it to get my daughter a new winter coat off of  They had 60% off plus free shipping (the free shipping is what I definitely go for as shipping up here isn't cheap and getting worse every day), so I spent a good couple of hours going through pretty much every winter coat they had to find one that was rated for low enough temperatures for up here and got it.  My daughter is dwarfed by the coat a bit, but she'll grow into it and she attests to the fact that it is warm and comfortable.

3.  I was able to load a coupon for a free bag of French fries onto my Carrs card one week and we definitely took advantage of it as my son actually likes that brand of French fries (I'm still working on getting him to eat home made French fries).  I also cashed out one fuel reward (before the month rolled over) and used it to get two free cans of green beans.  Since we were running a bit low on green beans, this was a good way to start to build up the supply.  This month I actually got five fuel rewards as a birthday gift from Carrs that were good all month, so I used those to get a free bag of frozen fruit (we got some raspberries) and another free bag of French fries for the freezer.  

4.  In previous years I've ended up throwing away the turkey giblets because I would just not have a use for them and would end up throwing them away from the freezer later.  This year I was determined that I would not waste them, so I called my mom and got her recipe for cooking giblets off of her as I remembered she used to cook the giblets and make giblet stuffing from them.  I made the giblet stuffing once after being married, but it made so much that once I wasn't feeding a crowd, I kind of moved onto other recipes for Thanksgiving.  I made a very delicious broth from simmering the neck and giblets (thanks for reminding me how to do it, mom!).  I ended up eating the meat off the turkey neck (I like it and have since I was a kid *laugh*) and then froze the stock and the giblets.  The giblets I'll use in home made stuffing later on (yum!) and the broth I am planning on adding to a big pot of turkey stock I'm going to make from the last of the Thanksgiving turkey parts and then I'm going to can it in pint jars.  I haven't done pressure canning in a long time, but I have decided it it is time to get back into doing it for the sake of being more self-sufficient.  I have other things I'm planning on water bath canning (frozen fruit), but honestly I'm waiting till after Christmas to even start canning things as I'm still recovering from being sick and I have other things to do before the holiday.  So, stay tuned for that.

5.  I mended another coat of my husband's.  I feel kind of bad that the mending pile has gotten so huge, so I'm trying to work my way through it and get things done.  

6.  I got a 5.00 check for doing some surveys online.  I turned around and immediately donated the funds to a tornado fund that the governor of Kentucky has set up.  I have managed to get together a couple of donations this season by doing surveys and other activities online.  It isn't much, but I am doing what I can.  I'm not mentioning this as a way to pat myself on the back or anything, please don't take it that way.   I'm bringing it up because you can do this too.  Like those who use apps like Ibotta or other money back sites for their normal shopping and things...maybe you could find a few dollars to take out of paypal and donate to your local food bank or other charity near and dear to your heart if you feel called in that direction.  

I was feeling really down this holiday season when I was sick and everything and looking at my budget getting tighter and tighter and more and more need from different places staring me in the face.  I really wanted to help, but didn't know how I could.  Using money back apps and things doesn't give much back to you, but it is a way to squeeze blood from a stone and let you help sometimes.  Just a thought :).

Oh also, you can sign up for Amazon Smile (not pushing it for Amazon's sake, but just mentioning it) and donate to a bunch of charities by just shopping through the Amazon Smile site.  Not sure if your chosen charity will be on there, but it is something to look into and it won't cost you a dime to do and will help out the charity you choose.

7.  I used a 15% off Michael's Rewards code to get a frame for my daughter for cheap so she could finish up a Christmas gift she's making.  

8.  When we ran out of blue baking sugar when making cookies, instead of running out and buying some, we just made some instead with some sugar and food coloring.  It worked perfectly and saved some money :).

9.  We really wanted to listen to Christmas music on the radio, but the radio reception at my house sucks.  So, I went and downloaded the IHeartMusic app and went and looked up their Christmas music station for free.  I then just blue tooth the music to my a little radio I have that doubles as a bluetooth speaker and it works fabulously.  My daughter loves it!

10.  I wanted something we could use for exercising this winter in the house, so instead of going out and buying something expensive, I went and dug around our storage van before the weather went super cold and found the stationary bike I had used when I was pregnant with both of my kids.  It a bit beat on, but still works perfectly well, so I hauled it up to the house (not easy, but I did it) and my husband managed to maneuver it through the garage and into the den, so we'll have it to work on this winter.  The kids are already getting on and using it for fun, so I'm doubly happy I did that :).

I'm sure there are more things that I'm forgetting, but I'll leave it there for now.  I'm just so grateful to be feeling somewhat human again :).