Saturday, December 31, 2022

We don't do New Year Resolutions

We do goals.

Charlotte's goal is to make sure she gets the pillows before I get in bed.

Hubby's goal is not have to cut ice from the pond like the Amish for storing food during the summer.

Speaking of Amish, M just sent over eggs and asked if I had 2 dozen wide mouth lids to spare... she's canning meat and ran out of lids. I have enough wide and regular for 2 canning seasons. I think I have flipped these 2 dozen lids four or five times with her. 😁

Goals 👫

Stay Healthy.

Have more in savings and lower withdraw from retirement funds. It's the first year we haven't reduced the pull. We have a few things we want the money in savings as it's due in fall.

To have the solar panels installed on pump house by spring.

Replace garden beds

Refill garden beds with dirt

MAYBE plant garden beds. I do have some that I can plant limited.

To declutter basement, barn and garden shed

To organize basement, barn and garden shed. 

I already finished the house doing that but of course will need to go back through drawers and cabinets... never ending to my way of thinking.

Son 1 was up and said the house seemed "settled" and comfortable. 

BUT first is take down the Christmas decorations and put it all away and plan what we are doing with the gardens.

Happy New Year ... may this one be calmer and more peaceful

Blessed Be

Prayers for peace


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

On the Menu

 Mushroom Wellington (Blogger Sam, coffee, money and Thyme) maybe with a risotto or beef and barley soup.

Creamy Ham Veggie soup (once again Sam, coffee, money and Thyme) with Homemade rolls or bread

Autumn Stew (Home Chef recipe of poultry, butternut sq and Kale) 

Prime rib, baked potato, salad, shrimp cocktail, rolls (Son1 up for Christmas)

Sausage balls and mac and cheese with green beans and applesauce

Spare Ribs and kraut and mashed potatoes

Leftover pork roast with mashed potatoes, kraut, blackeye peas and cranberry sauce

Philly steak pizza

Shrimp scampi with CA blend veggies 

Country boil (Amish B recipe)

Mackerel patties, fried potatoes and peas

Sausage with red cabbage with apples

Turkey enchilidas

Taco salad in tortilla bowl

Taco pizza

Salisbury steak mashed potatoes  and corn (or Brussels sprouts)

Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and red cabbage with apples

Pasta (Hubby's choice) 

Bfast. I found the waffle iron so probably waffles.

Now I am hungry LOL

Blessed be 

Prayers for peace

End of year

 Second day of Amish cutting ice from our pond. Pond was froze 8 inches in 2 weeks. It's usually around 6 inches in February but they were worried it would get warm and stay warm or we would get a lot of snow which makes ice mushy. 

We ordered more coal thinking it wouldn't be in until Jan. It's in so maybe we will go get it tomorrow when it's 50s and not raining like the rest of the week is to be. Supplier said it went up and another raise is coming in Jan. So instead of the 1 ton we got 2. 

I checked the budget. Couple areas we were over budget... way over budget and in others we were way below budget. BUT over all we were balanced. We even have more in savings than we did at the end of last year and the IRA's are at the about the same amount also as they were last Dec.  Lots of big ticket items, wood/coal stove and solar well pump. Second order of coal and the on property fuel tank also that we saved for.

Next year's big ticket items... gardens beds along with dirt, replace my truck, 4 tons of coal and odds and ends on the porches. Wood is going to be cheap if not free. Out of pocket for Medicare will be double of what we half now.  I gathered estimated costs of each. We will figure out which we need to save for first and take care of the priorities first.  

Blessed Be

Prayers for peace

Prayers for the blogger whose Husband died of heart attack Christmas morning

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Saving money through Christmas to New Year's

 Daughter 4 got this for me... The other 5 agreed it was the best present for me and all got a laugh. She also got us some off grid stuff, travel mugs that we can take out side and a wood rack to put on our porch so her dad won't have to go to the barn to refill as often and to put what is in the barn in the wood rack at the end of the season so we have this year's wood separate from next year's wood.

We saw most of the kids by making the loop only going 10 miles out of the way of a 2 hr. trip one way on driving to Daughter 2's to see her son in on leave and having Christmas with him. For the 1st time in years we only saw the daughters. Son 1 is coming up on the 30th when the weather is good and we will see Son 2 on the 2nd though we did drop his gifts off as he was out of town. I got kitty time with my 4 legged grandkids though. I took appetizers made from what I had on hand. 

The 2 legged grandkids got a kick out of the dollar store regular envelopes I put their Christmas cash in and the advanced birthday cards of the ones in Jan and Feb. Most the evening was answering questions on how much to save, how to save, and being getting back up for the grid going down. One made the comment he would be packing his cats and coming to live with us if bad crap happened, Daughter 4 told him to wait and she would drive pass so he could follow her as she would be heading this way. Hubby told them to plan on living in the barn since only 1 of them has a home over 1200 sq ft, they could do that as the barn is over 8000 square feet. As we were leaving they yelled see you in March, that's when the next round of birthday cards would be. All of them asked about how much to save for retirement about half of them are self employed and know not to count on Social Security to support them.

We came home a different way (10 miles shorter LOL) and saw more Christmas lights.  

I cut the Christmas eve prime rib so we had some Christmas eve, put the rest in the freezer  so can roast the rest on the 30th for Son 1 instead of buying another roast. Actually it was better as I have only enough leftovers for 2 small Philly steak subs and a pizza for the two of us. 

I checked all automatic payments making sure they had the correct information and would continue as automatic. Son 2 had 2 stop last year because he didn't confirm his info. Was a mess 

I donated to the food pantry in memory of Mother, Salvation Army in memory of Pop as they raised him when he was put on the street at age 12 by his parents and Seed Savers in memory of Daddy as he was always a gardener until his late 80s.

We ate appetizers made from what I had on hand for two meals.

I baked 2 loaves of bread. First loaf was used for bread on Christmas eve along with croutons for the salad. Then into bread pudding. Half of the second one was  French toast (got free eggs from M).

I transferred $2.96 cash back to the card and then took the same amount and put it in savings. 

During the 35 to 50 below wind chill temperatures I closed off the two lofts and the basement. Kept curtains closed, only turned on Christmas lights on Christmas eve and day to help with power grid . We didn't lose power thankfully. Still needed to turn the furnace on to 65 even with wood stove to keep the south end of the house from freezing pipes. Found one window that allowed snow through it and then had ice on the inside. I covered it with an old towel. Will be researching windows for sure. Hubby checked the propane tank level as we turned the furnace back down to 55. We are at 59 % so we only used 2% during the week of sub zero. Not bad at all as the last time we had that type of weather we used 15% . 

I used the wood stove to cook and bake instead of using the propane cook stove. 

We are sitting down today and talking of goals/plans for the next year. We do know we are decluttering/downsizing. 

Blessed be

Prayers for peace

Be safe and healthy (as I cough my lungs up LOL)

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Level 3

 in this area we are level 3. Means we can be arrested if on the roads without reporting to essential work or going home from essential work. Personally with it a negative 31in temp and gusts over 50 mph... we are NOT going out. 

Got 1 kid without heat, furnace went out. or water pipes froze, she forgot to let them drip when she lost heat. They got space heaters and bought water as they can't get anyone to fix it until Jan. She's planning on the pipes being busted so turned the main water off. She rents so notified her landlord what happened and he brought her some water and a space heater he had.

Another kid had their car go down while going after one of their kids' whose car went down. 

Son 1 will not be up due to weather. He is coming up next weekend when it's suppose to be in the 50s (pneumonia weather).

We might not be going Christmas day to drop off Christmas and to daughter 2's to see grandson in from deployment, he thinks he is being sent back to Italy which he loves. That sucks we might not see him but we went through the same thing with son2, so even though it tugs the heart, we know we need to stay safe and a 2 hr. drive one way might not be safe as the wind is still causing white outs and drifts not to speak of windchills if you break down.

E came over and checked the thickness of the pond. The kids want to skate on it and he wants to go ahead and cut ice for the ice house as he is worried about it staying warm after this. Normally it would be 2 1/2 to 3 inches . He won't let kids on it unless it's at least 4 inches. It's 6 and will be closer to 7 on Monday when they skate on it. Tuesday he will be cutting ice. 

Even though it's Christmas eve, the day runs the same, feed the stove, feed dog, feed stove, do laundry and hang on drying rack, feed stove, feed us with a couple drag dog out on leash to potty as she won't just go out. She did get Hubby through the night to do business...on the steps to the porch but at least she was out. 

Prayers everyone is safe and warm.

Blessed be

Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, Happy Holidays.

Prayers for peace

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Winter nasty coming in

 Our internet and phone has already been up and down. Better it than the electric. I ran the dishwasher even not full so it's done 

We are ready if the grid goes down and for what ever the 30 below plus temps bring with 50 mph winds. Hubby thinks we have what decorations we have up can handle that wind. Otherwise they will end up at E's. 

We and E checked on both widows. They have full tanks on cars and groceries. If electric goes out in middle of night, they have our cell phone numbers. One will go to E and the other one here as neither have back up heat. The one might go stay with their granddaughter who has a generator. Said she would let us know if she did.

Hubby's parents are ready. Had their propane topped off as their generator is hooked to it and got groceries in. So set.

Stay safe

Blessed be

Prayers for peace

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

bad weather prep, frugal items, update on kids.

 It's going to be a wintery mess the end of this week

Rain/snow depending on what time it comes in due to being in low 40s to dropping to 30s ... anywhere from 1 to 5 inches of snow on Thursday

30 to 50 MPH winds on Friday with the temps in the single digits

Artic slam on Saturday with wind chill at 20 degrees BELOW if not more

High possible on Sunday (Christmas) is ZERO for the temp with 25 mph winds. 

Hubby didn't finish getting the solar pump installed , hand pump does work and will pump to pressure tank at least nor did he go get diesel fuel for the tractor and other generator (he keeps the work truck full) BUT he had regular gas delivered  for our tank that would also help if E runs out of gas for their water pump he uses a small gas motor to pump.(Just a side note, E is changing to wind power with gas pump back up for his water after Hubby told him why we were going to solar, grid down affects them also)

 So I put diesel fuel on the to do list along with all of the other things we want to get done while out for appts. 

We had all meals but one from pantry/freezers. Hubby picked up $11 gas station pizza one night.

I cashed in my pinecone and swag bucks for gift cards. Matched amount went to savings.

I used Menards rebate to pay for a couple items Hubby needed for the solar pump. Matched amount went to savings

Hubby used a TSC rewards, matched amount to go to savings

I used 4 coupons at Kroger's and 10 cents off gas... matched amount when to savings

I bought thrift bakery buns (amount difference compared to Walmart went to savings) and used the condiments we had at home for the HAM radio group dinner. There was no horseradish cream to come home. 

We are using the Christmas lights as our lighting in the mornings while we drink our coffee and talk over the day and oil lamps if needed. Hubby uses a task light at his computer and I use one when reading.

I found a total of $1.20 in coins that is in the coin jar 

I paid off the last of the school taxes that were not due until Feb.

I went back through our subscriptions, if it's not saving us the amount it is costing us it got cancelled. I will not renew one and the other 4 will be continued.

I am using the clothes line to freeze dry and/or the drying rack for laundry

All the bills that came in that was lower than budgeted amount... the "extra" $$ got transferred to local savings so if they come in higher during winter the money is sitting there but making us some money while doing so.

I broke even on my IRAs. I earned the same amount I lost.

Hubby made money at the shock of our finance group when most were losing 10-18%. We are hoping this coming year things settle down.

I figured out that we could use 22 bags of coal a week to equal what we would spend on propane. Our coal provider let us know that with what is coming in we would use 4 bags a day and he isn't getting the next load of coal until Jan so we went back to wood which mainly is FREE. It's just we do have to feed it during the night and load it like night time if gone over 2 hrs. I just turned the furnace up to 62 so if the stove goes out, Charlotte will still have decent heat along with the plumbing.

Today we are going to doctor's appt. Since I am not going to run around in horrible weather I combined stopping at dentist office to drop off info, drop Christmas cards at post office, getting dog tags, doc appt., picking up prime rib on way back as we pass the butcher shop (it's 10 miles outside of town), getting the last of the groceries and milk that I will be out of today for holidays , Hubby will get diesel while I am getting groceries and then hopefully my meds will be in for me to pick up.

Hubby ran (since Amish don't have phones) his business errands this morning to confirm what jobs he was doing this week since he will not haul during the bad weather. He was able to shift some things around and one of the Amish won't be ready for him to pick up a load anyways due to flu hitting the family. He wasn't even willing to open door to talk so not to pass it. 

I had enough in local bank savings to move to our "savings" bank that has better interest (negative is it takes a week to move it from one acct back to checking acct. but that definitely makes us think if we want to go through that or not).

We have a money market 3 % interest set up for medical. We now have 50% there *25%  is in another savings as we will be paying co-pays again Jan 1st .SO only need to save another 25% and then start saving for 2024 on Medicare.

We have a 12 month CD 4.15% interest (no minimum to open)

We have a 11 month no penalty 3.5% interest (no minimum to open)   

It's been a long time that my savings didn't out earn CD's or I had to have a large amount to open one.

I set up monthly spread sheets to track outflow and income. I set a separate one for savings . Hubby is now listing what category on receipts so I know what it is for besides how he paid for it.

Daughter 1 is doing better since surgery on her wrist. Back to work as floor  manager of Walmart. Her family is fine, all 5 kids working, and grandkids are starting to come along at a steady rate LOL

Daughter 2 changed jobs after 19 yrs would have been 20 in March. Server and bartender... She is now custodian at a local school with solid 40 hrs. a week, benefits and retirement. She is working Saturdays at the old job and willing to be on call for fill in on weekends. Things seem to have settled down some with the job change. All her kids are working, one in Army is to be home this week and she is expecting another grandchild.

Daughter 3 is working steady, has her 2nd child getting ready to move out on their own (I've gotten lots of texts of her struggling to deal with the child being old enough even though the kid is a nurse working full time) The other kids are doing well.

Daughter 4 got her cost estimate for her surgery as it's pre existing she has to pay a chunk of it. Thinks she will have enough before her doctor tells her it is a must for surgery. 

Son 1 is working and doing fine, said he is just dating around. 

Son 2 is still celebrating retiring from Army. Loves his job at Air Force (civilian)  and is doing well in his relationship with his lady as her focus is raising her 13 yr old and he is fine with that. 

It's nice to know going into the holiday that drama and health is good. We will probably all come down with some bug or another after Christmas which seems to be the norm after 50 yrs (Lord the oldest is 50 LOL)

Blessed be

Prayers for peace

Monday, December 19, 2022

SIGH this is why

I get frustrated with Hubby

This is how the coal fire looked when I went to run errands

nice lovely fire, not full but a good amount .

One hour later what did I come back to???

I grew up with coal stoves and I told Hubby to not load over the full line and not load a lot at one time think of thin layers. Coal burns from the bottom up so there has to be air coming up through the bottom. To NOT poke or stir up like you would wood..

He closed the air off to the coal, then added 40 lbs. (way too much at one time) and then stirred it thinking (not thinking to me) it would help it. THEN he moved the shakers (the vents in bottom) to the point he had a ash tray full of hot coals and the shaker (what controls the vents) stuck open with lumps of hot coal so nothing was staying in the fire box and he couldn't get the ash tray out with the hot coals being bigger than the door way of where the ash tray is. He did say he was sorry he complained I bought 3 buckets for the stove as he used all 3 and the ash tray after he got the coals out of it. He didn't know what he would have used to carry hot coals out. I suggested the bottom of the fire pit that is on wheels and could be rolled in and rolled out and not burn the wood floor if he didn't have buckets (that he made sure was on the fire protector on the floor).


AFTER spending 2 hours cleaning up the mess as there was dust everywhere and reloading coal from those buckets as I'm not throwing coal away and getting it going, he went to run his own errands. Saw one of the Amish that burns coal and said something to them about what he did. They asked if he ever burned coal before, nope just wood in fireplace. Asked if I did. Yep  and I had said blah blah blah.... 

The guy asked why he didn't listen to me . Hubby said he thought he knew it all since he was a guy. Just FYI he really isn't that way most times. But it gave the Amish a laugh and was advised the same thing I had told him AGAIN and don't need to add fuel every hour either as coal is not like wood at all. He still struggles on not loading it every hour or two (coal can burn 10-12 hrs.)usually around 3- 4 hrs.  is good to load, you don't want it on the low side and you still don't want to dump a lot on it as you will smother it.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Planning for 2023.

 Planning to declutter and organize the house, garden shed , barn and property. WITHOUT paying extra to get rid of it. Tempting to hire it done just to not deal with it ????

We kept a lot of stuff, everything from cabinets to dishes to to tools to crafts and to what ever through the years . I have Daddy's, Mother's, Pop's, late Husband's, Hubby's grandfather's, and things from all 6 kids and a few things from the grandkids that their mother's passed to them that they don't want now either.


Son2 is doing happy dance over that plan as he is in charge of our estate and us if we need care. EVEN though we have put in the will to have an auction (noted for him to go to E as E's dad deals with the auctions for the Amish).He would rather see it gone before we get to that stage of old age or die and stick him with it. At least he no longer threatening to just burn it down.

I found on This Old House an idea of knee wall dresser. Knee wall( Hubby calls them half walls) is a wall that comes up to about your hip and then goes into an A frame or like ceiling. There was a built in book case also. Both thoughts would help in the loft bedrooms. I can't even put all my bedroom furniture in my bedroom but the dresser is too tall for the knee wall loft bedrooms.

In the old homestead I had a cabinet that was my baking center. That cabinet is now in barn surrounded by other stuff and not being used. BOY do I miss it when I have to hunt for what I want as my baking stuff is now in 4 places.

I decided we had to have a list and broke it down to 40 areas ( I multiplied it by 3 for 120 as it's 3 parts to the whole) and a plan of when to get it done as we decide to declutter, organize (what will make it easier to take care of also) and clean. 

Hubby's first thought was how to get rid of it. 

April our township has a clean up day and we can take "trash, non hazard stuff, to the township hall and they will haul it for FREE. 

Our trash company takes 6 kitchen bags a week. Our usual is 1 a week so that's 5 more bags that can be gotten rid of without extra charges.

We have a Habitat Restore in 3 place near us, 1 Salvation Army store, 3 Goodwill and 1 Fish thrift shop and several churches also taking donations.

My thoughts went to time to get it done.

IF I started now (even though we said we would do nothing until Jan 2nd) and did 8 to be done by the beginning of April for the township clean up day.

If I start Jan 2nd I have to do 10 

IF I start Jan 2nd and focus on doing 1 area and do all 3 parts in 1 wk. I would be done Sept 30.  Which means we would be storing some things that can't be ran through regular trash until the next April or we would be paying to have it hauled. 

Cardboard boxes (not used to cart stuff to thrift shops) and paper items can be burned in burn barrel. Bubble wrap goes to the one thrift store along with extra plastic bags that the Amish don't take during the winter months. Amish use them for their veggie market stands. Couple grandkids said to not get rid of any kitchen stuff as they plan on going out on their own next summer. I am okay with holding stuff like that. 

We are flipping it back and forth how to do it but by Dec 31st the choice will be made. 

Blessed Be

Prayers for peace


Saturday, December 10, 2022

frugal in kitchen


Fried potatoes and onions from our gardens

Navy bean soup , we grew the beans, made the broth and chunks of ham from a leftover ham bone.

Jiffy cornbread muffin mix in memory of Daddy. Son2 bought me a dozen mixes even though he knew I had yellow and white cornmeal because he was thinking of his Grandpa. He also has always used Jiffy as it makes only 6 muffins which is enough for him. He also uses Daddy's bean soup recipe using smoked hocks instead of ham. He has a butcher shop around the block from him so he can get them pretty easy. 

We had baked oatmeal with apples I had kept from canning.

We had pork chops (from E) sweet potatoes and green beans we grew. I made custard pie (eggs were from M) and will put raspberry pie filling on top of it. Had to buy that we didn't grow enough last year. 

So far the only thing we have bought at the store is milk twice.

Hubby had bought powdered buttermilk at an Amish store a couple months ago (he used it when he was single parent) that I have been premixing and let sit until thickened to use in the Irish soda bread I make as it's just flour, salt, soda and buttermilk. Sometimes I  add dried raisins or cranberries to it. Saves the yeast plus if I float between different types of bread, it gets ate before it gets bad. I like bread pudding but not with store bought white bread.

We got the electric bill, it's $75 LOWER than this time last year even though we have had the Christmas lights on when usually we don't turn them on until Dec 1st to be on only one month's bill. Part is it's a bit warmer but I know that our furnace fan costs us $50 a month as I have ran it full time instead of automatically to help hold the heat steady. The wood burner has a non electric fan that is run by the heat coming off the top. Even the lofts which has always been below 50 degrees fall- early spring is at 72. E says it won't be that warm once the below freezing weather comes in and stays.

At this time last year we had our second propane fill and we are at 65%. Hubby considers that a savings of $550 as that what it would have cost to fill the tank

I boiled eggs, made frittata, custard pie and fried eggs for meals as the eggs are free from M. 

We focused on eating the menu we made. We had 7 off the menu along with 3 of them repeats as leftovers and bfast twice for our lunches /suppers. We had lunch out once when out with appts and errands. Got 2 sandwiches and split the French fries and drank the water we took with us.  

Blessed be

Prayers for peace

Thursday, December 8, 2022


 It feels weird to not be figuring out how to get the canning done or what needs canned first LOL. 

I did get most the Christmas cards ready to go out tomorrow, I have 5 that I want to include letter in.

Hubby spent the day working on the solar pump for the deep water well. He got the hand pump attached which is the most labor but still needs to install the solar panels and the batteries. 

Thought it was kind of funny the morning before he started on it we lost power and my first comment was I have no water to do laundry. I have water for 3 days for regular uses but that wasn't the point when the solar pump had been on site for a month. He immediately went to install it. Did not think it would take more than a couple hours to do it completely but if necessary he can hand pump water. I grew up doing that at my grandfather's and aunts... 860 pumps with a hand pump for a wringer washer and rinse pan.  (UPDATE) he found it was going to be harder to install solar panels as he thought they went one way narrow side as side and longer side as height and it was the reverse. E is going to help him install them after he braces the walls they will hang on the pump house.) AND the electric went out 6 hrs... not big deal as I had already pulled water for the morning and just put off laundry until the next day.

We are changing the times we eat since Hubby is not hauling as much (slow season) plus he needs a snack around 7 pm or he munches through way too much (1/2 gallon of caramel popcorn that was suppose to be for me and I got none of it). I made the mistake of suggesting cheese and crackers... he ate a pound of each SIGH.... and he realized that wasn't good when the next day Doc was on him for gaining 6  lbs. in 3 months when it took him 9 months to lose it to begin with.

 I eat at 10 and 2 and eat light meals or snacks and dinner (supper) was at 5. Hubby wants to eat dinner/supper at 4 to 4:30 and have a snack at 7 as he is usually asleep by 8:30. I think the oatmeal bars I used to make for the kids' breakfast would be a good snack for him at night. Since he told Doc he was getting hungry a couple hours after eating supper. I just have to make sure he doesn't munch through them like he did the caramel popcorn. He drinks over 1 gallon of water a day not including his 20 ounces of coffee or 20 ounces of dandelion tea (for his gout). 

We went and got fuel additive for the generators , lawn mowers , tractor and both trucks. When it clicked none of that was written in the budget... nor was the fuel for the tractor, lawnmowers or generators... SIGH. Nor was the grandkids moving out on their own money that we give them. Back to redoing that budget.

We haven't had sunshine for almost a week. Drizzle , foggy  and dreary.

The sun came out but the wind was above 25 mph. Charlotte doesn't like wind in her ears but wanted the sunshine. Kept going out , getting in her chair and then coming right back in . So I moved the dog bed into the sunshine


I spent the day , moving the bed with her on it to keep her in the sunshine. Hubby just laughed. 

Hope you are well and safe

Blessed be 

Prayers for peace

Friday, December 2, 2022

End of canning for this year

 12 meals of turkey canned

15 pints of turkey broth canned

14 pints of kraut canned (after fermenting in crock)

I told Hubby I am done canning for this year. I will be taking the 4 canners and the large stock pot (25 lb. turkey fits in it) and moving them into storage so I can walk to the clothes washer or to my dresser in the laundry room without walking around canners or moving them. 

Hubby is installing the solar SIMPLE PUMP on our well pump this weekend. I've checked on him a couple times. He is doing fine just very slow going. 

The guy in charge of the Christmas dinner for the HAM radio group sent Hubby an update of what is coming so far. He is bringing a ham (wants us to bring bread and buns for it). Someone is bringing lasagna for those tired of ham. Sounds like some sort of salad is coming. Hubby is going to pull the list up when he is done for the day . It's a small group of about 30 with families included(that is less than us with the kids and their families). The other ham radio group Hubby used to be in was closer to 50-60 people with families included.

We are bouncing some thoughts on goals for next year around also.

I am heading for a nap as I just took the meds for the RSV and now I want to sleep LOL

Monday, November 28, 2022

Looking at the end of the year and menu planning


This is our new decoration for this year. I made it from plastic clothes hangers 

We loved it that the cross showed through the light tree.

We decided to not really shop for each other, I'll get a few odds and ends for the stockings . It's the first time we don't have any essentials, needs or wants... We both feel that is the best gift we can give each other. We don't count savings as we always will want more there.

We went over the punch list... over 1000 when we bought this house four years ago. Was at 188 Jan 1st 2022. Been averaging 37 done each year. BUT we changed which way we were going and really cranked through some of the smaller items and it's down to 56 and that includes windows and siding to be done in a couple years down the road. 

We spent Thanksgiving at home with just the two of us. The only left overs was the pumpkin roll and the turkey. Turkey is being frozen and broth is being made with the bones. SIGH. I really don't need broth but I just can throw it out, seems so wasteful when I know not "simmering" the carcass doesn't get all the meat off the bones. 

We were going to go to Walmart to replace a couple outdoor pots but I got up coughing my lungs up at 3:30 this morning so I am home. Hubby is running prescriptions to CVS and delivering messages to Amish as they had another death out of state. AND then said half a dozen was in CVS coughing their heads off so when he got home he stayed outside for an hour hoping the germs were killed in the cold temps

The house is decorated, the prime rib ordered for Christmas eve. I will pick up some baking potatoes (ours didn't grow big enough) salad and shrimp for shrimp cocktail ( I use leftover shrimp for shrimp scampi). Haven't set dessert yet. 

Have a HAM radio dinner to go to mid December. I will make a cranberry custard pie for sure but not sure what else as I told Hubby to tell the guy in charge we would bring what he needed after he finds out what everyone else is bringing. One year it was salt and pepper and butter.

We wrote out menu thoughts. We have 3-4 days we will eat else where.

Christmas eve we will have prime rib, Christmas appetizers. New Year's eve will be pork and kraut. 

Cuban black beans and rice. 

Bean soup

Turkey, broccoli and rice casserole

brats and baked beans

pork chops 

turkey, noodles and mashed potatoes

Mexican (any where from tacos to enchiladas)

fish, fries and cole slaw

sausage gravy and biscuits


bfast (waffles, pancakes, French toast, fried mush, eggs (any style cooked) etc..)

I have chili and veggie soup canned in pantry. Son 2 just sent recipe for meatball tortilla soup that he thought was good and quick. 

Baby Charlotte waiting for me to come back to bed for a nap as Hubby just told her to take me to bed for a nap.  LOL He thinks you can sleep the crud away.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Saturday evening.

 Hubby is watching football on tv because his best buddy can't and is moving his daughter... so Hubby is texting scores until Buddy gets home.

We had a cold morning mid week and she came in to did this. First time she's went anywhere near the stove. Wednesday, we turned the furnace on and let the wood stove go out. Mornings have been in the low 40s and high's in the 50s. No sense burning the wood and opening doors and windows to cool the house down. Next Wednesday night we will most likely fire up the wood stove and turn off the furnace if the forecast says the same as now.

We had Thanksgiving for 2. Two of the daughters had to work and their kids went to their dad's side, and the other 4 kids went to their other side. Which is why we used to have the family Thanksgiving dinner the Sunday before the holiday until kids said to quit as it was becoming too much for them. Since it was at our home , we quit, didn't have to say something twice especially when it came from 2 of them that NEVER agree on anything. Now they are dealing with their kids "other sides" and grandkids and wonder how we got it done. Daughter 2 has Christmas night as that's when her son3 comes home from deployment. Not all will make it then either.

We have decorated for holidays. I made a cross out of plastic hangers and outlined it with lights for our new decoration for this year and Hubby hung it on the house. I try to add something every year. 

We love it that the cross shows right through the light tree.

I ordered the prime rib roast for Christmas eve (Son 1 will be here). I got a discount for ordering this month. This is the only thing Hubby ever asks to have for holidays. His grandma on his Dad's side always served it when it was her turn to have Christmas eve dinner.

Hubby's business has not been doing much this week. So he used the time to cut more wood and do a couple small repair jobs he's had on his to do list forever. There has been several deaths in many of the families that require them to go out of state. Rough as it is since they automatically bury on the 3rd day of the death. 

With the weather being decent, I have washed the Christmas table linen and odds and ends and hung them on the yard clothes line to dry. Don't usually get that all done in one day since I usually have to use the drying rack at this time of year. It was really nice to have that completely done.

We are going down to Son2's tomorrow for lunch. 

I am ready for a mini break LOL

Friday, November 18, 2022

7 more qrts and 25 pints

 of turkey and turkey broth. Broth in the canner at this moment.

I had to rearrange some things in the pantry to get the turkey and turkey broth together.

I kicked the dishwasher on and then after it started running, I ran dish water for the hand washing of canning items. Hubby asked why I didn't run the water first. Because then the dishwasher is pulling the cold water instead of me running twice as much in the sink to get hot water to wash the dishes.

Hubby stopped at Save A Lot and got sausage. They were having a sale buy 2 for $6 of their brand which is 16 oz.  A friend checked at Kroger's and they only had mild in their brand of sausage for $2.99. The only spicy/hot sausage was from $3.49 to $5.49 and a few were only 12 oz not 16. I told Hubby get a dozen, meaning total of both together. He got a dozen of each. Guess that is okay at that means we eat sausage twice a month and I have a couple new casseroles that calls for sausage. He also picked up Save A Lot's brand of thick sliced bacon .  I have plenty of bacon in the freezer but he wanted to see if he liked this brand as I usually buy Wright Brand thick sliced bacon and only buy it when it's on sale.  Maybe we will have it this weekend. It is priced what I would buy the other bacon for. 

We had a wood handle break on the wood stove. E's dad is going to fix it for us as he's known for that type of repairs. We were heading over to where he was at anyways as they were sitting up for an auction... lots of things I would have bought years ago... now it's just pretty to see but not have to deal with taking care of it. 

Hubby scheduled the winter tune up for the lawn mower, saving 10 % on parts  and reduced labor price for doing it now. He changed where he takes the tractor and they charge half the price the other shop did.

Oven timer buzzing. Supper to get ready

Blessed Be 

Prayers for peace

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

$49 in savings at grocery store

 But first... our first loaf of bread out of wood stove. Top darker than we like but it was not burnt and was soft.  I will definitely be watching the whole wheat or speltz or rye. E said it looked good as M had burnt the top of 4 loaves that day. 

I was supposed to bake it to internal  temp of 210 degrees and I pulled it at 205. My other recipe it's supposed to be 190. 

 Charlotte needed her shots and nails clipped. Doc suggested that since she is 5 that we look at getting a pup to keep her active. I will look at that in the spring. I am not into house breaking during the winter. We had talked about a pup since the boys died. 

 Since we were in Sidney we went to Kroger's (we don't have one).

 SAVINGS!!! Kroger's had a coupon for their turkey to be 49 cents/ lb. (got 21 lbs.). if you bought $25. I added, another turkey that was 69 cents/lb. (got 20 lbs. ), dairy and a pork loin that was half price to cut into pork chops ( 9 meals now in freezer). I didn't realize I still had another coupon $4 off meat on my Kroger's card so instead of the $100 after coupons and sales that I was aiming for for fuel points. I had $98 and change SIGH but I saved $49 !!!! I can always get dairy next week after our appts. to make the fuel points.

Then after we got home and I was prepping meals. (Yes the two turkeys are thawing for me to can) I sliced up the pepperoni I bought last week. Nine meals(pizza or subs or with cheese and crackers) of sliced pepperoni and 6 of go with sausage for pizzas, calzones, and pasta casseroles. I went to the freezer to get the sausage to cook it today and found I was down to just what I needed for the pizzas. I could have got more at Kroger's and had the fuel points. MOAN GROAN.. worse was I didn't realize we were down that low. Checked the pantry inventory and yes that is all there is as I was hoping it was in another freezer. Hubby is stopping tonight after hauling as he will be refueling right around the corner from Save a Lot to see if they have sausage. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. If they don't, I will put it on the list for next week.

We were gone 5 hrs. Wood stove had just barely dropped to creosote stage. House was 72 degrees. Hubby had put less wood than I would have. But he did say he might put a "nighttime" piece of wood with the rest the next time.

Hubby said he is no longer leaving a night light on in the front room as the firelight shows right where he walks to go to the bathroom. Our security light out back lights up his bathroom. Works for me

Monday, November 14, 2022

How we saved Money we didn't think about

 First, a pretty early afternoon with Charlotte. 

I am glad I moved my head back before that tongue came out LOL.

The laundry is on the line, dishwasher has ran, the empty jars are waiting to be taken to the basement and put in boxes for storage. I will have to move things around in the barn to store the empty jars as that it starting to cause some clutter in the basement.

We were coming home from a funeral and got a phone call to deliver a message to an Amish... worked out great as we were going to be driving right by his house ( so no driving 10 miles , yes he gets paid for messages)but we knew he was at a wedding and wouldn't be home. Hubby wrote a note and I had him put it in the freezer bag we keep in the truck (Amish get car sick and that's what they use for that so it can be gotten rid of nicely) and he used a clothes pin to attach it to their clothes line in front of the front door. W said it was nice as she saw it before she got up on the porch at 2 am. The one boy wrote on the bag he saw it but left it there for Dad. LOL

I cooked taco soup on the stove with cornbread muffins... we ate it twice with the second time with rice that came from the microwave. So no propane used for that meal. 

Today Hubby went to add softener salt  and checked the filters to the furnace and the cold air vent... HUM guess we won't be using as many filters either as none of them needed changed. We are guessing that will be cut in half so that's a savings of $125 a year. Something we hadn't thought about.

We are keeping track of what we save so we know when the "savings" paid for the stove and chimney. Since the wood stove oven is holding pretty much at 350 (thermometer on door) I will be baking the bread in it. Part of the bread dough will go for a deep dish pizza that my Nonna used to make .The pumpkin apple soup is simmering on the stove. Hubby isn't much into soups but liked that there was soup on the stove so he can eat it any time instead of looking at snacks as he is trying to lose weight.  I have ground pork patties to go on the grill and a huge sweet potato that will be baked in the oven also plus green beans that can be heated in the small pot on the stove... no propane for the meal again.

We also realized that the electric bill will not go as high as the furnace doesn't come (set at 50) on so the fan is not running. I know last winter the electric was up $50 due to the furnace fan running as a circulation fan to keep the house more level in heat. We turned off the ceiling fan and the rotating fan in the front room as I got the stove to be steady and not run us out. Hubby still struggles a bit to NOT throw several pieces of wood on at a time. Sunday being a day of rest I had him watch me take care of the stove. He said this morning it was great as he didn't have to add any  wood from 10 pm to 4 am when he as up anyways. Large hard wood is good for night time . I also told him to think about what wood he is putting in the stove. Soft wood (like cotton wood) burns fast but oak, hard maple will last longer and you use less wood. You can tell what is soft wood vs hard wood as hard wood is heavy and soft wood is light weight. He picked up some wood the other day (we only paid $70 for 4 cords (4x4x8 is a cord of wood) of wood and $40 of it was for E's 4 sons that helped unload on the one trailer). He put the word out he was willing to take scraps and slab and they almost over ran him. One asked if he could haul wood to their mother( just widowed) in exchanged he would reload the trailer with the scrap from cutting her wood. He would have hauled it for free but it worked.

E asked if we could figure out how to put a phone out in our barn as the other neighbor is getting rid of her landline even after he offered to pay for it as he knows since her husband died she had to cut costs and a half of dozen Amish were using it. She was charging them 75 cents a phone call. Since it's not adding any costs to us to have it, we put the extra phone and charger in the barn in a metal file cabinet to keep mice from messing with it with note paper and pencil and taped the number to the top incase they needed to leave a call back number. Added a metal lawn chair and a light on the wall in case they don't have their flash light. We just put a donation bowl in the drawer as we really didn't want anything since it wasn't costing us... I think we repeated that a lot. It actually is better for them to have it in our barn as they park the buggies and horse at E's sawmill. They aren't parked along side of the road like they were with the other neighbor. Plus E's youngest brother thanked us as he can bring the kids with him and let them play at the barn or sit in the buggy as he is way off the road . E made it clear everyone was to park their buggies at his sawmill so we aren't dealing with manure. 

We told our kids we were on a phone party line with the Amish. They thought it was funny. I can add, it's been busy as "donations" have paid for 1/3rd of the bill and it's been only a week. H said doctor appts, confirming feed deliveries and business calls will be the majority. Death in the family if needed. Hubby gets some of those on his cell phone anyways. 

I ordered some specialty flours and used a code that was for that day only that I just happened to run across. Hubby told me to use the savings to order the extra's I would like to have.  I noticed he tires quickly of the same bread on the table. I started paying attention to what type he buys (not white sliced) as I just tell him to get some bread and don't specify. He is more of ciabatta, French and Italian and some rustic. He likes tortillas and sometimes flat bread or pitas. I like Irish soda, pumpernickel, rye and rustic. We both like oat breads. I think we should try potato bread.

I found a penny then a dime and then a dollar bill. 

Hubby brought home a pie, one of the Amish ladies gave it to him for helping her get the milk cow back in the pasture and off the road as she was home alone. He was going down the road to another Amish when he saw the cow and her. 

M sent over a pan of caramel cinnamon rolls after I shooed their colt back over into the pasture.  He had rolled under the barb wire when he was sleeping. His Momma wasn't too happy with him but she was waiting for him at our gate so it was easy to get him back to where he belongs... unlike the one last month that was across the road into the corn field kicking up his heels. E is slowly (because there is a supply issue) changing the barb wire to solid metal pipe. Horses are rough on wire and they lean across it to eat on the other side.

Blessed Be everyone 

Prayers for peace.


Saturday, November 12, 2022

Text from Son2 and wood stove

 I got the text..


I first thought he went and got married to his lady ( no they are not engaged) because he has always said when he got married he would call me and say " Listen Mom I DO". 

Nope, but this is definitely a WE DID IT

We are proud of him because there were times he thought about giving it up, sucked it up and continued on. 

He thanked us for the 21 years of taking care of his finances, home, and cats while he was away on duty.  

Now he is a civilian working for the Air Force... looking to work there 20 years . 

It has turned cold, highs in 30-40s and lows in low 20s. SO the wood stove is on

3 doors and 5 windows were open trying to keep the heat in the front room below 80 and the bedroom on the opposite side of the house from 75.That with the stove temp being right in middle of the sweet spot to stay out of creosote and not to hot to cause damage...  E said something about Welcome to Amish world. LOL

I got it figured out this morning. Only 2 windows edged up an inch and doors are closed. Front room is 73 and bedroom is 72... the dining room, always the warmest is 75. What did I change?

We never had heated the lofts... I opened the door to the staircase for north/soft lofts and took the curtain out of the stairway of the east/west lofts. I turned the ceiling fan in the front room OFF. Lofts that are usually in mid 50s to 60 are now 70. The house is pretty much the same temp through out (front room has always been 5 to 10 degrees cooler than bedroom which is closest to the first furnace vent)

Since the wood stove was on, I had decided on spaghetti with meat/veggie sauce and cheddar bay biscuits. 

Turned out to be easy... need to doing prepping all at once and then take to stove. Since the stove is in the front room and the kitchen is over 30 ft away.

Need to open the oven "valve" sooner as it took almost 20 minutes to get up to 450 and it border lined being too hot for the stove to run. BUT I didn't burn the bottoms or sides as I had used my temperature gun to check for hot spots before I put them in. 

I did not boil the spaghetti there. I was not going to carry boiling water 30 ft to a sink to drain it. I did order a roll cart for those issues. We have solid wood floors so no carpet to try to roll the cart across.

We did run into an issue of Hubby pulling wood from the wood wagon on porch instead of the wood box beside stove so when the wood box became empty after me stoking the fire all day... there was no wood in the wagon. and of course he had left for the day. He also didn't check where the fire was in the stove before leaving (before I got up) and it was in creosote level when I got up about 3o minutes after he left and almost completely out.  

We' ll work it out but I really didn't think we had to have the rule if you empty the wagon, you refill it immediately ,not later

Friday, November 11, 2022

Amish Neighbor clothes line , death in family and good news


You can't see it but from where the clothes is hanging to the right hand corner of the porch is clothes line. M also has Sunday clothes (black) hanging on the porch. She doesn't hang black clothes in sunlight as it fades the color.

Yep, it keeps going  

There is about 20 ft before it actually stops. I just couldn't it in the photo. E said it's 250 ft from the porch corner to the top of the maple tree he hooked it to. I can tell you she has several lines up in the house, Dawdy house and basement. Family of 12 and washes every day except Sunday. She has 4 wringer washers, uses 2 for wash and 2 for rinse. Runs them with Honda motors. She has a small wood cook stove in that room (calls it the wash room) that has water reservoir to heat her water. Uses that stove to bake her bread so she's doing more than one thing at a time and not wasting fuel. Has done canning and cooking a meal at the same time. Talk about multi tasking.

Daughter's 4 biological grandpa died. We all will miss him but thankful God took him home as he has fought heart issues for 20 yrs and diabetes for 15. He was in so much pain and tired all the time. He served 21 years in Air Force and is being buried today on Veterans Day. We saw several old friends there that said they were going to come out and see our home... we both doubt that but it was nice for them to say so. 

Good news

E is coming over this morning to help Hubby get started installing the solar well pump. This is the last of the "grid down" stuff unless we decide to add solar for electric later. We have talked about it. Our electric company offers help on deciding on that.

We are STOCKED. I have 2 turkeys in freezer to can, and the kraut to can BUT WE ARE STOCKED. Dairy and a few fresh salad items.... every other week shopping. 

Probably will pick up odds and ends on medical side. I just stocked vitamins and toothpaste. Hubby said his scissors and forceps is missing from his First aid kit he carries. He thinks he left them on the trailer when he bandaged one of the Amish. He laid them on top of everything. I keep mine on the bottom as they are the least used. 

We decided we would MAYBE pick up G & R bologna if we ever go over to get a sandwich. It's right down from his parents but he is not visiting his parents as they have been sick. Texts daily, couple calls to make sure, checks with his one brother whose sons check daily as they go right pass the home when getting off work. Said they are not going in as they are not sure  what it was but they both had doctor appts. Doctor thinks stomach bug (I had it for a week and then took another week to recover).

We are done for this year on punch list. We will start back up next spring to continue's nice to take the break and look to see if we still want to change things like we thought when we bought the house.

We are a bit over budget.... due to $1800 in medical for Hubby over his gout. That won't be an issue next year as I will have the FULL out of pocket in savings by Jan 1st. I already have a CD that will pay for the propane, might have to add to it but we will know in the spring how much the wood stove will save us. Those are the two biggest issues we deal with. I will start saving for another car/truck since we know ours is dying due to rusted frame. 

I really hope we get some decent rain. Pond is getting really low . I am also hoping for a good snow fall this winter. Snow provides the water for our wells as it feeds the underground streams etc. Plus gardens do better when we have decent snow.

Blessed be 

Prayers for peace

Stay safe and well 


Monday, November 7, 2022

Planning frugal.


Winds over 30 mph with gusts 50 to 60 mph... Most of the trees lost their leaves. We had very little raking as what stayed in the yard was in the basement ramp. Hubby raked them into the tarp and hauled it to the hay field that E is disking this week. Hubby took the leaves what he had from along the gates to go in the compost pile and then turned the compost pile. JUST FYI, this is where the roof was I prop my feet on. 

Hubby is cutting more free wood. One of the Amish brought over a 1/2 of a cord of scrap wood that needed cut up. Couldn't find anyone to take it and he burns coal. Hubby took it.  He had told several of the Amish he sees regularly that he would take scrap wood and they had passed the message along at church.

The propane furnace is on, right now it's way too warm (high 60s to mid 70s) so we have the furnace on 68 during the night and turn it off in the morning Nights are low 50s if not 40s. About another week and we will have the wood/coal stove running again as the high 40s and lows in the thirties which is normal for us is returning. We will turn the furnace down to 50 when we fire up the stove again.

I canned 11 pints of tomato juice finishing the last of the tomatoes.  I want to can the kraut  in the crock and some turkey if I find it cheap enough.

We rewrote our to do list for this month. Keeps us on task with essentials. I added Christmas decorations as I know that takes about a week between in home and outside. Hubby found an old tomato wire cage he thought he got rid of in the barn and brought it to me so I can turn it upside down and wrap the green LED rope lights I got on clearance around it to make a "Christmas tree" for the porch or deck. I also have a cardboard Santa that Mother hung on the staircase door that he found a sheet of paneling that I can attach him to. My Santa is not in good shape but I am not tossing him away yet.

I ordered through The Prudent Homemaker's site (Brandy's) toothpaste at Amazon. I was down to 2 tubes. I checked 3 stores here and they didn't have what I use. I can't use colored toothpaste. You would think white would be easy to get for sensitive teeth. But not here.

Hubby has pretty much wore his work pants to threads. He kept checking TSC which where he gets his work pants. They were wanting over $20 a pair and didn't have his size.  I found carpenter jeans at Rural King in his size for less than $12/ each so I ordered them on my CC that is cash back. Even with shipping it's less than TSC.

E's Mom B gave us a large white sweet potato she had grew. Said her vines were great but the potatoes were on the little side and not very many  of them. But since I took over baby butternut squash (theirs rotted) she was happy to give us this.

I ordered gaskets for my small pressure canner. I noticed when finishing the tomatoes it was dripping a little at the lid. Had family tell me their friend tossed a canner and bought a new one. They pulled it back out of the trash can, cleaned it and bought new gaskets since I said something about you could buy gaskets and get the canner checked by the local extension office. 

 I ordered a rubber leg for the grate on my gas cook stove.  A friend has the same stove, mentioned her rubber leg also fell off and she couldn't find it. Ordered a whole new grate... I asked why... thinking there was something wrong with the cast iron grate... nope, she didn't think to check to see if she could order just the rubber leg. SIGH. 

The "English" (that's what the Amish call us) neighbor on the other side of E is now a widow. Since she is losing part of her income, (she's get her Husband Social Security and hers will end as his was the larger check). She is cutting expenses. Usually the Amish make phone calls from her house as her husband had a landline phone in the garage. E said he offered to pay the whole bill including her internet etc. She orders stuff for them off and on also. But she said no, she can get what internet she wants on her cell phone. He mentioned it to us. We had already thought of putting a phone booth HA HA in for the Amish but since her husband and her were already set up we didn't do anything. We now have a phone in the last stall of the barn. E told everyone to park by his saw mill to keep the horses from coming up the driveway so Hubby doesn't have to deal with buggy and horse when he is parking and Charlotte barking every time someone pulls in. He said they pay for each phone call... even though we wouldn't charge a thing as it's not costing us  anymore to have one out there than it was sitting upstairs in the guest bedroom. I just put a container with is and wrote donations accepted. E said he checked it out and thought it was good. A place to sit, file cabinet so there is pencil and paper along with the phone and donation bowl (cool whip container LOL) and a light so  they don't have to hold a flash light while trying to dial in the dark. That is where Hubby plugs  his truck in and keeps the power washer for the livestock trailer so not using more electric that what was already being used and helps in the community.

We are eating from the pantry. I am back to baking (need to bake bread though).Fruit crisp, brownies, cookies, lemon cake( I will freeze part of it if we get tired of it),  Beef stew, chili, bacon, eggs and hash browns, pot pie (leftover beef stew with leftover beef roast with extra carrots and potatoes we grew).

We pretty much stayed on the menu each of us would have ate if I had went to Son2's. 

This coming week we are planning to eat from the pantry also. I will be baking bread and corn bread. I might make corn meal mush since I make corn bread from scratch. 

I have planned smoke sausage, mac n cheese with peas, taco soups with nachos, rheuben casserole in crock pot with rye bread, chicken broccoli and rice casserole, brats/hotdogs ( I don't eat brats) with baked beans and canned cole slaw, Cuban black beans with rice (Bren Herrera recipe), pasta with salad and garlic bread, Salisbury steak with gravy, mashed potatoes and corn, Nonna's deep dish pizza ( bread dough crust in a sheet cake pan with pepperoni, sausage, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, black olives, turmeric banana peppers and lots of cheese.) with a salad.

Are you planning to be frugal?

Blessed Be

Prayers for peace

Friday, November 4, 2022

Hubby spooked ... girls having issues.

Daily break time with Charlotte. Nice and sunny, I don't care how weird it looks or the laughs the Amish get when they go by and I am sitting like this.

I'm with Charlotte. It's been a year since we lost Wilbur and Rascal. I still miss them daily. So glad to have this time with her. Plus the roof was warm and my feet were cold LOL.

 Hubby was agreeable to the 2023 budget, then he noticed I cut it so we are mostly on our social security and my IRA.  HE spooked when I said I was starting it NOW. If we can't do it NOW, we are going to struggle when it's fact. I calmed him by reminding him we were still going to be pulling from his IRA. It will also let us know BEFORE he lowers his pull if we can actually do it. IF we can do it, then he might be able to go even lower on his pull. I have to pull from mine. Inherited IRAs have to be gone in 10 yrs.

I was going to do some decluttering, cleaning and last of tomatoes along with my NANOWRI today... BUT it's going to be mid 70s so I am washing bedding, throw blankets and furniture covers today. Not on schedule which threw him also. But I usually do that kind of stuff on Saturdays but they are forecasting gusts over 40 MPH and scattered showers tomorrow. It's a pain to put that kind of stuff on the drying rack or kitchen porch clothes line. It was nice to look across the pasture and see M had her bedding out on the line also.

We had gas station pizza the other night (it's decent pizza). Couple Amish paid for it  as their ride didn't show up to take them home (just got off the bus at the gas station) so he let them use his phone to let the late driver know he had them. Driver admitted he forgot about them. All of them happy Hubby was there for fuel.

We have been eating from the pantry. I actually caught myself thinking I don't want that, was on menu for Hubby and what I would have took to son2's so both of us would have ate it. Was enough to realize it can't be what I want or don't want. So we had what was listed.

We have enough beef stew left that I think I can add the leftover roast beef that was in freezer for Hubby while I was gone to make a large beef pot pie for us. We can eat the leftovers tomorrow as we are both home. I'll make taco soup for Sunday with corn bread. I need to make bread tomorrow also.

Daughter 1 is back to work but having issues from her carpal tunnel surgery. So back to the doctor for that.

Daughter 3 had her new neighbor move in Monday and died yesterday. They think sugar as he was a diabetic and he was found in the front room but his insulin was in the bedroom. Her oldest girl (in nursing ) heard  a loud noise and went over to check to make sure he was okay. She could see him through the window he was on the floor so called 911 when she found the door locked.

Daughter 4 got a call from her younger son's grandparents that he has been living with, his dad had custody of him when he died (both him and his brother died from inherited kidney disease with in a year of each other)  and he passed the custody to his parents as Daughter 4 at that time was bouncing around from home to home. She wasn't happy with it but since they didn't have anything in the paperwork stating he was to go back to his mother she agreed because her son said he wanted to live with them. He has failing grades in 2 classes (in high school) and blamed her (didn't bother to get him tutoring nor ground his butt when the first note came him from teachers about the low grades) and then tossed him out, didn't even let him wait in the home until she got there. YES COPS GOT A RECORD OF IT. The grandfather (step grandfather) did gather up most of his clothes and stuff  when she pulled up in front of the house. She filed of emergency custody. Glad her new job has legal insurance that she bought. Her health insurance wants a second test ran to see what stage the cancer is at for the hysterectomy. Her doctor had already told her he runs 2 tests a month apart as he has seen false negatives and positives on the tests.   

Daughter 2 said ( I already knew but let her vent) her son 1 and his wife were separated again (4th time) And Son 4 was looking for his own place as he shares with older brother. Son 2 is better and released to go back to work and Son 3 in Army is only able to connect once a month now. Was in Italy the last she heard but his unit was on the move.

Son 1 and Son 2 remain stable and calm. 

Hope things are calm and stable with you and yours

Blessed be

Prayers for peace

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

2023 budget.

 I turned and thought she was sitting on Hubby's desk

She's not. She is on the arm of the love seat we have always called dog seat because every single dog we have had since 2002 has claimed this seat.

Our IRA guy gave us a heads up we needed to come in during Dec to decide what we were pulling from IRA's next year and that our investments are where we want them. 

We want to have a pleasant retirement not one of fraught with we are going without. We had set our goal to live mostly on our social security (after Daddy lost most of his IRA in 2008 and had to drastically change his life style to rebuild his retirement). Social security is meant only to replace 40% of your income. Something to keep in mind before you go on social security. We are only over budget by $2000... that is the mortgage (not including ins and property taxes) and the truck payment.  

Mine is set, I am happy with the investment and the amount I am pulling from my inherited IRA.

BUT we agreed Hubby's pull is too high for where we are now and he is not sure about a couple of his investments as he changed who was handling his IRA a couple months ago.

So I pulled up the budget with added inflation. Hey things are not going to go down a lot so might as well budget for it. I added 15 % over the 10% I just added a couple months ago. IF they don't go up that much , the money goes to savings. 

STILL ... do not need what he has been pulling. I had even moved his truck payment into the household budget in case the business can't make the payment. That might end up being for the replacement of the family truck that the frame is rusting out of.

I asked him for the financial priorities...

He rattled off a half of dozen...and then off and on would add something.

I changed the wording and asked for the essential.

Definitely changed how he was thinking and what he wanted to focus on. 


1. To be able to live in our home instead of assistant living/nursing home.

What is needed right now? Decluttering and organization. We just need to refigure what we have for organization which probably would clear half the barn and what the need is.

We don't need to drop pedestal sink in wheelchair bathroom or drop the sink in the mudroom. We don't need a wall oven or cook top at this point. All of that would be needed later. We have options on how to access the basement where the pantry is. 

2. Having a better savings including 2023 medical out of pocket and some towards 2024 medical out of pocket. I have half of 2023 already.

I already have listed what we need to save for and the amounts needed/wanted. He did acknowledge that he hasn't been clearing it with me before buying stuff.( I brought up usage of his credit card) When he went to an auction last week I had gave him a list with price point. Said that helped so I made another list of what is on the to buy list and those price points to carry with him. SO if he does see something on the list and the price is matching or better lower, he knows he can buy it.

The budget for electric is $200/month. If it's lower the extra goes to savings. If it's higher then it can be pulled from saving of when it was lower.

I think every 3 months I will transfer from the lower interest rate savings to the higher interest rate savings. It's 3-5 days to get the transfer completely through.

3. Pay off the mortgage before we are 93. 

I already have got that down to age 88. BUT he wasn't acknowledging you have to cut somewhere else or pull more $$ to do that. He is now.  

4. Finish getting stuff for the grid that included 2 new blades for the buzz saw.

The saw blades for buzz saw is already in savings as they are ordered and come in during Jan. I transferred what I didn't spend on propane over to it figuring it would be in the heating budget instead of propane budget to cover both.

I have 1/5th of what is needed already in saving. I just need to keep us focused on ESSENTIAL instead of priorities that sends us off the track somewhat.

5. Cut what isn't essential to cut what he is pulling from IRA. 

He started pulling his IRA in 2017...It's been reduced every year. This year was 50% LESS than that original pull. Every year we have cut it by 10%. His old financial guy was shocked as most increase the pull or stay the same. 

Hubby agreed to reduce what he is pulling by 32% for next year's pull from this year's amount.   Little scary to drop that low that fast but we have definitely turn what we need to run the home and get the essentials done to a lot lower amount.

Blessed be 

Prayers for peace

Financial steps, books I am reading

I found 1 dime and 1 nickel and 4 pennies. It went in to the change jar as the Amish have been buying our change so they don't have to go to the bank that is over 20 miles from them.

We do all the daily habits, open curtains for light, keep furnace low, use wood stove when highs are in 50s (was nice to hear the Amish complaining of having to open windows because they need the stove on to cook but it's warm in the afternoons LOL), use the oil lamps (now the decorations saving on oil as it's a bit hard to get at the moment and we do have the option of electric where Amish don't, E ran out Sunday night and came over to fill a lamp. Hubby goes after oil on Friday with H) and clothes line. Hubby stacked more wood in the barn and said he is down to 1/2 cord to cut and most of it is kindling. E's dad H told Hubby to focus getting the scraps from A. R. or J.H sawmills as is saves gas from cutting. 

 I  listed the items we needed/wanted to buy...then I list the prices I am willing to pay.... then I go hunting for them. I make sure I think about sales tax or it can put us over budget

On the to buy list

hearth board with spacers for the wall behind the wood stove. Budget $100 plus tax

humidifier and filters if not like what we have. Budget $400 plus tax

Four fire alarms as the ones we bought for here is starting to act up. Budget $80 plus tax

Lighters (we have a burn barrel, wood/coal stove and oil lamps) Budget $6. plus tax

Bottled water. Hubby carries a case in the truck so if someone needs water to drink or wash with he has it. My brother does the same. Budget $20 (we planned 3 cases) plus tax* went to 4 as they had dropped in price.*

Two bags Chi Chi tortilla chips. We get them the cheapest at Menards. Budget $ 8 plus tax 

We figured $614 with 7.25 % tax  would require  a total of $658.52  We saved $675. 

Went to Menards (11 % rebate this week)  got everything on the list and some candy, hard caramels for Hubby to carry in truck, caramel creams (we only get around Christmas so being saved) soft caramels (use to cookies and ice cream) candied peach rings (me) and our standard Hershey plain and almond bars (we put peanut butter on them) and Reese's cups. Figure what ever was left in the $675 budget could be used on the candy that will last us through Christmas if not until Feb. 

We had $104.44 in rebates.  We were able to get $84 in candy. I split it up so Hubby is not tempted as he was raised and to this day his parents(diabetics) have a LARGE bowl of candy on the kitchen table. Not happening here. We will be getting back $56.82 in the 11% rebate.

On the stock up list (still) turkey (less than $2/lb.), pepperoni ($7/lb. A pound makes 12 pizzas) and G& R bologna We pay what ever they want as it is a special blend just made for them. Additional Prime rib for Christmas is a question mark still. 

I was suppose to go to Son 2's for two weeks while he was at Annual training. His last before he retires officially December 30th. It was canceled. Since I had wrote a menu of options for Hubby and brought it up to kitchen frig. freezer, we are eating from that. I tossed small potatoes from our harvest and brussels sprout I had froze in a pork roast and only enough veggies for 1 meal. Hubby loved it. I split the pork roast into 2 meals for the freezer. Both will probably make 2 meals also.  We had Autumn stew (chicken I canned (store bought chicken frozen chicken breasts), onions, garlic and butternut squash along with the dehydrated beet greens from our gardens) , ate for dinner and lunch and then with our hamburger sandwiches we had last night 1 pint going in freezer. Tonight is beef stew from the freezer with the apple cider bread I baked that isn't going to last through this week.  I still have tomatoes on the deck table turning red, should be canning those by Thursday or Friday as it's getting into the 70s (not our normal 50s) I still have 1/2 bushel of apples to dehydrate and 1/4 bushel of apples for fresh eating and baking besides the 1 full bushel in the frig for this winter.

I stocked up on vitamins and a few medical supplies that was on sale.

I put up some LED lights decorations for Halloween and fall. Hubby remembers to unplug the one set in the front room and I do the one in the dining room. We leave the one over the sink on and not plug in the night light we have there. Both use the same amount of electric but with how I hung the lights on the curtain rod , it gives more light off than the night light. Hubby thinks he would like it to become the night light if I can figure out how to make it look decent and not just a strand of LED lights hanging on the curtain rod (which has no curtain as I hang the windchimes there during the winter)

We have said no to a couple outings to lower the use of gas. As we know of at least one funeral we will be going to. Daughter 4's grandfather on biological side is dying. He has battled heart and diabetes for 20 yrs. 

We had our farm/car ins agent come over and recheck the place to make sure our coverage was up to were it should be. He added the stove and chimney, of course. AND advised us to start tracking how many miles we drive a year as we might be able to get a discount on that besides our ages. I had laundry on the line when he pulled up, he made the comment we had the same brand of dryer our neighbor had... M had her laundry out also. And then noted his mother never had a dryer until he was 10 and he is the middle child of 9.

We went through clothes, Hubby needs "dress" jeans and work pants. Dress jeans come from Rural King, work pants come from Tractor supply. Both places had jeans on sale so it worked out well. I bought 4 dresses at half price, one has no sleeves but I have different sweaters or shawls I can wear with it. My dresses are hanging on me but I will pass them to another family member that can use them. She is passing her clothes to one of the grandkids. Sale prices of jeans and dresses are 50% lower than budget.

We have stuff for the small projects we need to get done. 

I am going to need wide mouth pint jars. SIGH.

Hubby will be scheduling the winter maintenance for the lawnmower and the tractor. He will get a 10% discount for doing it now until Jan 31st. Slow time for the two businesses. 

Books I am reading

Decluttering your home in a Year or Less Workbook by Kai M. Jordan.

The Doomsday book of Medicine by Ralph LA Guardia MD

Essentialism  The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKneown.

Healing America How a Simple practice can help us recapture the American Spirit by Congressman Tim Ryan

Rereading Bay of Sighs (book 2 of the Guardians Trilogy) Bed time book.


Nov 1st (today) National Novel Writing Month of writing 50,000 this month (1667/ day).

I am also sorting seeds as next year's gardens will be limited with redoing the whole gardens over. 

I am inputting pantry inventory on to spread sheet ( 1 page per day as I have 22 pages left to do)

We decided on the 2023 budget. That's another post

Blessed Be everyone

Prayers for peace 

What are you doing to pinch those pennies?