Sunday, September 23, 2012


As I've been promising to post pictures of our new place for the family to see more of it, here's a picture of one end of the kitchen.  We just bought the microwave so Matt hadn't gotten all the sticker off the front.  It's HUGE compared to our kitchen at Matt's old place.  The dishwasher is to the right of the sink and then the refrigerator.  I love this kitchen and it has TONS of cabinet space.

The big Stock Car Stampede was this weekend and guess who got sick.  Me.  Matt was sick last weekend and obviously shared his germs with me.  I did make it to the Calcutta Thursday night to help out but by Friday night I was in bed with fever, chills, sore throat and coughing.  Not how I envisioned my weekend to say the least.  We were SUPPOSED to have been at the race track all day and most the night Saturday.  I'd scored $10 off tickets for both of us for helping with the Calcutta making it an even cheaper fun day out.  Matt's lecture to me was that I wasn't going to die if I didn't go to the race track but if I sat in the cold wind and cold temps all day I might.  I'm not sure he's got his priorities right but I gave in and curled back up in bed for the day.  .

The awesome news that I got this weekend was that my oldest son, Matt, is engaged!!!!  He called me Thursday night as I was leaving the Calcutta to let me know he was proposing.  I haven't met her but I think her and I will get along fine.  She loves him and that's what's important.  They called me Saturday night to let me know she'd said yes so that was one good thing about being home.  Looks like we're having a wedding around this time next year so I need to save for a trip to Texas.

While I was curled up on the couch with Moo, Luna, and Oreo weighting me down and both Tip and Lacey were laying right next to the couch (they're in cahoots with Matt on this!) my man once again worked miracles and managed to get our furnace going after having to do some minor tinkering.  He ended up having to replace a gasket and make a few minor adjustments but he did it and we now have heat!!!  It was so cold in the house Saturday that we needed to kick on the heat for a bit to take the chill off.  Okay, maybe 50 isn't cold but since I was already having chills it felt like it was freezing.  Our nights have been dropping into the 40's and in some areas 30's.  Last week we had frost warnings and this week we have freeze warnings.  Looks like the heat might get kicked on in the mornings.  We need to get another programmable thermostat.  The furnace was our biggest concern when we bought the place.

Saturday since I was stuck on the couch I did purchase a new Kindle cookbook to read that sounded interesting, The Poverty Cookbook for Beginners.  It was only 99c so I figured I couldn't lose much if I didn't like it.  It has a couple recipes in it that interested me and I'll probably try out once I get back on my feet a bit more.

Thankfully I'm feeling better today.  Matt took me out for breakfast at Perkin's.  It was actually more a brunch for us so it elimated me having to decide what to make for lunch/dinner. He's been homesick for coney dogs so I let him make some for supper tonight.  I managed to get our bedroom dusted and vacuumed, and knocked out some laundry.  I did get the flannel sheets out, washed, and on the bed for tonight.  I woke up 3 nights last week needing another blanket so it was time to put the warmer sheets on.  I LOVE flannel sheets.  This is my first pair of ultra flannel and it's like sleeping on fleece.  Matt finds they're too warm for him unless it's super cold outside so we frequently quibble over when I get to put them on. I need to watch for a sale and get another pair of them as this pair is going to need replacing probably before winter is over. 

I got a burst of short lived energy after I woke up from a 4 hour nap and decided to do some baking and knocked out a batch of Addictive Peanut Butter Granola and a batch of chewy granola bars (new recipe). Matt's been asking for the granola for breakfast.  Moo is watching from the back of the dining room chair to ensure I'm mixing everything correctly. 

I used dark cacao chips (60%) (picked up at Aldi's after Christmas for under $1) in the Addictive Peanut Butter Granola this time since I didn't have the peanut butter chocolate swirl chips I normally use.  It looks a lot more chocolate-ey then normal because of the difference in chips used.  As soon as this cools off a bit more I'll put it into a Mason jar to store in the frig.  We'll put this on yogurt for breakfast in the mornings.  I We like Stonybrook French Vanilla Yogurt, sliced strawberries  or raspberries and this granola.  YUMMY!  It's also good on ice cream.

Matt and I both love granola bars but I have a big issue with the price, especially since I like the Kashi ones, which of course cost twice as much.  The MYO Chewy Granola Bar recipe was from 2012 Family Guide to Groceries Under $250 a Month cookbook.  I got the Kindle Version free  at some point but it's $3.49 on Amazon.  You can also check out her website at for more frugal recipes.  The recipe for these might be on the website.  I did alter the recipe and added 1/2 cup of peanut butter to it.  I'd like to try these with some dried chopped cherries and mini chocolate chips next time and maybe add some dried coconut.  These are more like a bar cookie then the sticky granola bars from the store.  Matt gave them a thumbs up so I'll definitely be adding these to the keeper list.

Matt came up with most the menu list for this week which made it super easy. 

Chicken Enchiladas (I planned to make these last week and didn't get them made)
Chicken Noodle Soup (using the chicken carcass after making the enchiladas)
Spaghetti or lasagna, salad, and garlic bread
Roast with carrots and potatoes

I have to work Thursday night so we'll both be on our own that night and we'll decide what we want for the weekend once we figure out what we're doing.  It's the Annual Rodeo and we're both planning on attending since neither of us has been to one before.  Not sure if we'll be attending Saturday or Sunday at this point.

Monday, September 3, 2012


It's been a busy week on many fronts so we've both been looking forward to a little down time this weekend. 

I scored a bag of apples this week for free.  They were tiny, tiny apples - the size of a crab apple but they weren't crab apples.  Not sure what variety they were to be honest.  I broke it down into 2 batches of applesauce so I did one Friday night after I got home from work and one Saturday morning while Matt had my Jeep back in the shop AGAIN.  Wouldn't you assume that if you'd just dropped almost $300 on new sensors and told them to break the seals and reseal them that they MIGHT have noticed there were nails in 2 of my tires and a hole in the third?  Apparently I expected too much.  So we'll see if they FINALLY got the leaks sealed up this time.  Okay, enough of my rant...  Monday afternoon I was able to process the applesauce and got 12 pints out of both batches.  Not bad for a free bag of apples.  I'd hoped to make it to the Farmer's Market on Saturday but the Jeep took longer then expected and I wasn't able to get the cukes to make pickles.  Hopefully next weekend.

Saturday night I finally got to go to the Jamestown Speedway.  Wow, what fun!  The wind that made the temperatures so much more bearable coated us with sheets of dust most of the night.  I could feel the layer of grit on my face and in my hair making it mandatory to take a shower before going to bed especially since I'd just washed the sheets.  We saw a bad accident although it could have been much worse.  I hope the driver that caused it gets suspended from racing the rest of the season for it.  It was a senseless accident that shouldn't have happened.  I'm very glad Matt hasn't ever had an interest in racing, just modifying the engines.  I'd be a wreck during the race worrying about him getting injured if he did race.
Saturday I also tried my hand at making doggie treats for the first time.  I know, unbelievable that I've never done this before.  I used a recipe from Dog Treat Kitchen  to make Mind Kiss Dog Treats.  I highly suggest reading the recipe before starting - I didn't read it and just assumed that it was made like regular cookies so threw everything into a bowl then realized that I was supposed to have made a cooked cornmeal mush first and THEN mix everything.  Needless to say my second batch turned out better then my first batch although the dogs didn't complain about either.  I used a plastic container of fresh mint between the 2 batches.  Next time I'll probably use dried instead of fresh.
Sunday we both were in an exhaustion phase so Matt declared it a No Work Day.  We both kicked back with books and read the whole day.  I did manage to get a bit of cleaning in before I curled up in the chair.
Monday morning we headed out yard sale-ing again.  Matt had spotted an ad for one that had a freezer we wanted to check out.  Of course as we were pulling up somebody was driving off with the freezer we'd hoped to score.  Oh well, we'll find one eventually.  At our second yard sale I found this beauty that I was able to get for $25.  Isn't absolutely beautiful!  I've been wanting a treadle machine for years but just didn't have the space for one.  It needs some refinishing on the wood but the machine appears to be in great working order plus has a new belt on it.  From my research so far it appears to have been made between 1920 and 1940.  I love the design on the machine.  They just don't make beautiful sewing machines like this any more.  At the third yard sale we hit Matt scored a couple books and I scored a quilting stencil and several craft books.


Matt also knocked out replacing the shower head in the master bath and he fixed the refrigerator ice dispensor that he made a replacement piece for from a coat hanger.  Sometimes that man amazes me which is a good thing.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Matt decided he wanted to go look for desks at yard sales again this weekend so Saturday we were off after a slight vehicle repair delay.  Matt's truck had a pulley seize up and break a belt.  Quick fix thankfully but he'd forgotten his cell phone so had to walk about a mile (up a steep hill) home to get my vehicle.  One thing we've discovered here is that yard sales are Friday and Saturdays only, nothing on Sundays like we would have had back in Michigan.  We didn't end up finding a desk but we did find several awesome buys.

At our last yard sale we found this deep fryer.  We had to leave the one I bought Matt behind because we just didn't have room to pack it.  We paid 75c for this one!!!!  It's probably a better model too since it has temp control and a couple other features that his other one didn't have.  We don't use a deep fryer often but french fries and mozzarella sticks taste so much better deep fried.

I almost missed this little beauty but Matt noticed it and brought it to my attention.  I love tea infusers so this is a great addition to my collection and only 25c!  At this yard sale we both found a couple more books.  I don't think we'll be needing reading material any time soon with the stack we have going.  My theory is to be well prepared for winter.
I've been looking for a pair of walking shoes for over a year and haven't found a pair that fit and that aren't outrageously expensive.  My last awesome find Saturday was at the Gun & Reel store.  While checking out guns for me we checked out the clearance area.  The first thing that caught my eye was the New Balance design, then the D width, and then the size 7.  They had one pair of this style clearanced from $96 to $20!!!  The pups and I took a 2.36 mile walk Sunday night to break them in.  We're getting ready for a 5K walk for a local pet rescue next month.

This is a picture from the buffalo herd at the museum.  The little one is one of our newer calves just after it approached one of the younger bulls.  The bull swung around really quickly to let the calf know it was not welcome.  The calf wondered back to its mother.  It's it adorable!

Sunday they had a Bluegrass Festival as a Red Cross fundraiser at one of the local churches.  We both enjoyed it a lot.  We arrived about half way through the bluegrass band that played first.  The second band was a blues style band.  Matt talked to the drummer and they may be looking for a bass player so he gave him his business card and hopefully they'll call for a jam session to try him out.  I'd forgotten that a lot of these fund raisers have meals for free will offerings. 


Saturday: Homemade pizza

Sunday:  Pork Sirloin Chops with Cajun seasoning, yellow rice, and broccoli

Monday:  Brats and mac & cheese

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Matt and I went out Saturday on a mission to try and find a desk for me to put in the sitting room.  The desk that Matt was using prior to our move broke and was unfixable.  He has been using my desk for the time being since I have a laptop and can type anywhere.  I decided to let him keep the desk and just get a new one since it's a bit small for when I use it for my sewing desk.  As luck would have it we didn't find one but will continue looking.

We did find some good deals though.  At Goodwill I found a pair of Earth Shoe slides that look brand new for $3.  These will replace the Clarks that ripped apart a couple months ago.  We also found a slate tile with a French Chef on it at Salvation Army for 79c that matches our kitchen theme.  Both of us found several books at both stores.  We went to a consignment store and I spotted this adorable lamp as we were getting ready to leave.  After pointing it out to Matt he said I had to buy it.  It's so me I couldn't pass it up.  I can totally visualize this sitting on my desk after I find one.

We also found a couple pieces of furniture at the consignment store that we are interested in.  There's a beautiful antique drop side table that would be great in the living room or sitting room to do puzzles on and Matt found a buffet cabinet that was really nice.  Maybe when we get some money back in the coffers again. 

I don't know if I mentioned before that our upright freezer died.  Apparently the trip was too much for it.  After we plugged it in it got "really" hot.  We tried to unplug it and plug it back in several times but it would get super hot to the point we were afraid it would start a fire.  Today we took it out of the mudroom to get rid of and discovered a scorch mark underneath it so we're really lucky we unplugged it.  As our side-by-side refrigerator has a small freezer we'll be looking to replace the upright soon. 


Thursday:  BBQ chicken, garlic herb roasted garlic and biscuits
Friday:  Out - tried a local truckstop that we'd been told had awesome beer cheddar soup
Saturday:  Maple Bourbon Pork Tenderloin, parmesian noodles and salad

Brunch:  Leftover
Supper:  Homemade chicken noodle soup

Monday, August 13, 2012


I was blessed to be given a wonderful farewell dinner by the Army personnel I worked.  They presented me with this awesome sword as one of my farewell gifts and they couldn't have gifted to anybody that would have been happier at receiving it.  I LOVE swords and I really like dragons so combine the two together and I'm in love.

The dragons alternate with the dragon claws on the handle.  The dragons collapse in towards the sword when you hold it straight down and then extend out when you lift the sword up.  (hope that makes sense).  The tip is actually double tipped.  It has an engraved plate on the sword itself, which ensures none of my kids (or anybody else for that matter) will attempt to steal it.  It's one of those items that I smile every time I look at it.

Today I got to do payroll for the first time.  Wow.  Caught one time sheet where the person tried to add in her lunch breaks to her time.  Found one who had shorted themselves on hours too.  Hopefully they'll figure out that I pay attention and they'll pay more attention themselves.

Actual Menus:

Lunch:  Egg and bacon sandwich
Supper:  Pizza hut pizza and breadsticks

Lunch: Leftover cheese and potato soup with bacon and cherries
Supper:  Tacos, refried beans

Matt was craving a chocolate pie last week so I made a chocolate mousse pie with a shortcake crust for dessert tonight and topped it with fresh whipped cream - YUM.

Housekeeping Duties:
* washed bedding
* washed load of whites
* washed load of colors
* vacuumed living room

I also clipped all the dog's nails and smoothed them down with the grinder.  Discovered a fat cyst on Lacey under her leg which explains her occasional limping.  I'll have to get her in as soon as I can afford it to have that checked.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I finished my first week at my new position and really have enjoyed my week.  I've been a little overwhelmed with  trying to learn Quickbooks so quickly but we managed to get the reports completed for the board meeting next week.  I even got to take the deposits to the bank Friday.  It's really interesting to meet all the different people and hear where they're from.

The weather this week has been considerably milder then what I'm use to and I've been enjoying it thoroughly.  Today was the coolest temps we've had, waking to a temp of 58 and our high was only 69.  I totally love this type of weather.  To bad there's not a location somewhere where the temps are like this year around.  We had thunderstorms predicted for early morning and then later this afternoon but so far have gotten nothing but a few drops here and there.  The dogs and I did manage to get a wander in this evening although not the longer hike I'd planned to do today.  My boss told me about some trails by work that I wanted to check out but there's always tomorrow.

I did a shopping trip this morning to Coborn's.  This is the first time I've shopped at this grocery store.  I received an email this morning with their ad so I matched up the ad to coupons and tried to keep the total as low as I could.  I still wasn't happy with the total ($89) but until I get the pantry restocked it's going to be higher then I want especially since food prices here are so much higher then I'm use to.  Meat prices in particular are much more expensive here - I've never seen drum sticks and thighs cost $2.79 ON SALE!  I bought shampoo for Matt that he hadn't been able to find since getting here and laundry detergent which pushed the total up too.  They had a coupon for $5 off if you buy 10 items out of a selected group.  When I got to the register, the register would only credit me with 7 of the 10 items.  The cashier tried to refuse to give me the $5 off even though I pulled out the items to prove I'd purchased all of them.  I had grabbed an ad when I went into the store and even showed the manager when he came over that one of the products was the exact one they showed in the ad and he still insisted on "checking".  I also had printed coupons for many of the 10 items that were part of this $5 off and after the store manager finally gave me the credit the cashier tried to refuse my other coupons because they wouldn't scan and she apparently wanted to avoid the extra step of manually entering them.  I finally got all the coupons credited (about $10 worth) but had to get an attitude to do it, which upset me.  I'll probably just take the flyer to Walmarts and have them do a price match over going through that kind of headache again.

Some of the deals I was able to get today included:

* Kraft Mac & Cheese - free with store coupon
* Betty Crocker Cake Mixes 79c and I had a coupon for $1.00/2 = 19c
* Cheerios $1.50 - .50 coupon = $1.00
* Recipe Starter 99c - 50c = 49c

Today's Menu:
Lunch: Turkey sandwich on sourdough bread and Frito's
Supper: Cheesy potato soup with bacon

Menus for the rest of week based on what I purchased today:
* BBQ chicken and Parmesan noodles
* Cube steaks with tomato gravy and mashed potatoes
* Tacos and refried beans
* Broccoli cheddar soup
* Chicken pot pie with biscuit topping

Lunches this week will include:
* Turkey sandwiches
* Egg salad sandwiches
* Tuna salad sandwiches
* Leftovers

I did get the dining room table cleaned off and items put away today and also got the counter in the dining room unit cleaned off.  Pictures coming.  Matt unpacked and hooked up the Wii, stereo, and VCR/DVD player.  I can finally watch Netflix again!!!  He also fixed the toilet in the 2nd bathroom - the bolts had rusted through and needed replacing.  I also got the Jeep unpacked (finally!).  I had the cast iron griddle, 2 dog beds, one of the dog bags, and some other dog items that needed to be brought in still.  I even managed to wash both dog beds so they have nice clean smelling beds to sleep on.  I also did a Tractor Supply run for dog food this morning before I went to the grocery store since it's across the street.  Another example of my sticker shock since getting here.  The food I buy them cost me $19 for the smaller bag or $36 for the large bag and here it cost $26 for the smaller bag and $48 for the larger bag.  YIKES!  On the other hand I was able to get a large bag of cat litter for $2.99. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Breadmaking and a Job!

Today I got the call that the job I've been wanting since before we left Michigan was mine!  I was so excited.  I'll be working at a museum and it's only a half mile down the road.  I start tomorrow.  My menu for today changed since Matt wanted to take me out for a celebratory dinner.  We tried a new place, Fort Frontier Bar & Grill, that is right by the museum.  We discovered it while we were exploring Frontier Village this weekend.  It's right outside Frontier Village.

I started getting my kitchen straightened out today and got my baking center set up.  I decided to make the sandwich bread I've been wanting to make.  I wasn't big on the sourdough bread I bought at the store for sandwiches so needed something else to use for my lunch.  Wish this had smell-o-vision because it smells delicious.

I'm fortunate that the lace curtains in our bedroom were already brown so they work with my color scheme.  The room is long but not super wide.  I love the closet area with the makeup area.  I need to either find or make a skirt for the bottom of the bed.  The wallpaper in the makeup area has to go too.  For better organization I plan to get some corner shelves to put my lotions and such on so everything isn't on the desk itself.  The closet on the left is Matt's and the closet on the right is mine.

North Dakota - we have arrived!

I know I've been MIA but with good reason - WE'VE MOVED!!!  Our wish to move to North Dakota has happened and two weeks ago we completed the move with me joining Matt in our new home.  I'm so excited to start this new chapter in our life. 

It has been like an avalanche that swept us away from the initial phone call asking Matt if he'd be interested in applying for a position to our trek across 6 states.  It took about 5 weeks before Matt was able to come back and help me move all our belongings but we did it and I'm in the final stretch of unpacking. 

Matt way overestimated how much room was in the moving van (26 footer) and didn't take my suggestion of using the bookcases to store things like the canning jars inside of.  Ultimately it ended up forcing me to leave things behind that I really wanted to take but couldn't fit in.  Matt also wasn't able to bring things from the garage that he wanted.  Unfortunately 2 of the big items that had to be left were the snow blower and the BBQ grill.  I had problems finishing with the packing due to the unbearable heat - it was just to hot in the house to do anything physical the last 2 weeks.  We only had a working air conditioner in the bedroom.

The trip took us 27 hours.  We tried to get off at 3 exits to find a hotel but there were no vacancies so we were forced to take power naps at rest areas along the way.  I had the pet mobile with both cats in the dog crate in the back of my Jeep, the border collies on the back seat and Oreo was in the front with me.  All the furkids made the trip without problems, even the cats.  They've all settled into their new home and love it.  The cats are loving the bigger place and love running from one end to the other chasing each other.  They also love the fact there are windows we can open that they can lay in.  The dogs are loving being able to take walks again.  The all seem so much more relaxed and I know there's a variety of reasons for that but it's so nice to see them happy again. 

Unfortunately I have not found work yet but I'm actively looking.  In some ways I think it's been the best thing for the furkids for me to be home for a while before I start working to help them ease into the new place and see familiar things get set back up.  It's probably good for me to have time off before the next phase but I'm ready to get back to working not to mention we need my income.

Due to the lack of space I was forced to leave my all the food I still had in the cupboards.  I'd planned on that helping get us through and now don't have it so the cupboards are almost empty here and we're on an extremely tight budget.  Fortunately I was able to get all the spices packed so I don't have to replace all those as well. 

Sunday:  (Actual)
Breakfast: English Muffin Bread (homemade)
Lunch - Dairy Queen had double cheeseburger combos on special so we paid less then $9 for lunch.
Supper - Spaghetti - we only used a 1/2 pound of burger in the sauce to stretch the burger.  I used the other half a couple days ago when I made Beefaroni.

Breakfast: English Muffin Bread
Lunch: Turkey Sandwiches, Frito's
Dinner: Chicken fried rice - using chicken from a chicken leg quarter leftover from yesterday.

One of the great things with our our new home is all the counter space.  I'm finally able to use my bread mixer and leave it on the counter for frequent use.  I made pizza dough in it earlier last week and then made 2 loafs of English Muffin bread last night.  I'll be making some bread for sandwiches in the next day or two.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Saturday's Musings

This past week was busy preparing Matt to leave.  I also ended up cleaning the doctor's office an extra day.  Our different styles toward moving were quite noticeable.  He waited until Friday to start packing anything he was taking.  Knowing I have a month at most I've already started boxing things up.  If I can ahold of boxes I will probably have everything packed I won't need within two weeks.  Our menus were totally off this week due to my working so much so we ended up eating a lot of pickup meals.  Several nights I picked up food after I got done with the doctor's office so we had some late meals.  Fast food isn't good for you to begin with and it's even worse eating it late at night and going to bed right afterwards.

Matt left early yesterday morning and should have arrived about 1 am this morning,  a 17 hour trip.  I know it will take me longer when I drive out due to having to stop for doggie potty breaks and stretching.  I'm pretty sure we'll have to stop overnight.  There's no way I'll be able to drive 24 hours straight.  Other then a major backup by Chicago he said it was a pretty easy drive.  H.e called about 10:30 last night to "tuck me in" and said he was about 200 miles from Fargo

I was a bit depressed yesterday, it was like I was being left behind.  There was that childish part of me that was screaming "But I want to go too!".  To snap myself out of it I decided to take the dogs to the Eastpointe farmer's market.  Unfortunately I'd forgotten yesterday was the Gratiot Cruz so there was no farmer's market.  Needing to take the dogs someplace since I had them in the car so I decided to try the St. Clair Shores dog park.  Totally was bummed to discover they require a city issued fob to get into the park and there's a fee associated with it.  Guess we won't be hanging out at that dog park, which is a bummer since it's the closest dog park to where we live.  The pups and I spent the day hanging out in the house.  I finished Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets (book 2).  It was a kick back and relax day.  I used up some of my freezer food to prepare lunch.  I ran out and got some groceries later in the evening, mostly fruit.

Breakfast: Eggs over easy and buttered toast
Lunch:  Buffalo chicken bites and zestie fries (both freezer items)
Supper:  burrito with homemade salsa (using pantry items)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Moving prep continues

It's just starting to hit me that this weekend will be my last weekend with Matt for at least a month.  It's sort of scary.  We're still working on finding housing.  Having three dogs and two cats is making that difficult.  It's not like I haven't been in this position before though.  Have you ever tried to find housing with four kids?  People immediately assume they'll rip the place apart and won't rent to you.  Same with pets.  We're crossing our fingers that we get approved for a lease to own double wide trailer.  Hopefully we'll hear tomorrow.  If we don't get approved it's going to be difficult.  The park the trailer is in is okay with the number of pets we have where apartments will only allow one pet, period.   I've been busy filling out forms on ND job sites.  I really hope I can get a job lined up before I move out there.

Meals this week:
Monday: blueberry pancakes and bacon
Tuesday: On Your Own Night (OYON) since I work
Wednesday:  Ham and scalloped potatoes
Thursday: Ham sandwiches (basically another OYON)
Friday: BBQ ham and pineapple pizza (homemade)
Saturday: Dinner with Matt's brother and his wife

Lunch today: burrito with cheese and sour cream

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I did a quick shopping trip last week.  With the pending move it's imperative that I try to use up what I have in the pantry as well as in the freezers.  I did my shopping at Aldi's because their fruit and vegetables were priced the cheapest.  I didn't find everything I wanted - they only had iceberg lettuce which is really odd since they normally have 3 packs of romaine and gourmet types of lettuce.

Water 2.49
jar of banana pepper slices 1.19
baby carrots .49
frozen corn .99
frozen broccoli 1.09
Dijon mustard 1.19
BBQ sauce .89
poppy seed dressing 1.29
celery .69
can of black beans .59
can of pumpkin puree .99
3# of baby red potatoes 1.99
avocado .89
strawberries 1.29
Boston Market frozen dinner meatloaf with mashed potatoes 2.79
Nutter Butter cookies 2.99
TOTAL: $21.84

Since Aldi's didn't have romaine lettuce Matt ran down and grabbed a bag of salad mix and a cucumber last night for supper.  It probably added another $3-$4 to the overall amount for the week.

With Matt being gone I ate pretty lightly.  I picked up a corned beef sandwich Tuesday night and ate half of it and then had it again Wednesday night to finish it off.  The Boston Market frozen dinner I used for lunch on Friday.  This time of year when it's hot like this I like to make salads with fruit and use poppy seed dressing.  It makes for a light taste.

The pumpkin I like to keep on hand for pumpkin bread when we get an occasional cool day when I can bake.  Another reason I keep pumpkin on hand is for the dogs in case of diarrhea.  It's the fasted thing I've found to cure diarrhea so we try to always have a can on hand.  If you don't it's Murphy's Law that you'll need it and won't be able to find any.  The heat is throwing Oreo's eating off already so I won't be surprised if we need to open that can to help her.  I'll need to pick up some cottage cheese for her before the week is out.  I prefer Daisy brand cottage cheese because it has no chemicals or preservatives.  She won't eat her kibble without a spoon of it added.  Even if she only eats the cottage cheese it gives her some calories.  Another option is yogurt to help with their digestion but it doesn't have as many calories as cottage cheese. 

I had grabbed a bag of #10 russet potatoes for $2.99, which were obviously a better buy, BUT ended up with potato juice down the front of my dress.  If they're rotting they're not a good deal, so I went with the more expensive reds.  Potatoes tend to go back quickly in this heat so it's best to buy in smaller quantities unless you have meals planned to use them up quickly.

The Nutter Butter cookies were a splurge for Matt.  He only buys them for his hunting weekend so I decided to treat him.  I'll probably even steal a couple.

As you can see I didn't buy any meat.  I'll use what's in the freezer.  I have a ham which I will probably thaw and use later in the week after Matt gets back.  I still have quite a bit of the chicken leg quarters left and a ton of venison to use.  I'll probably inventory the freezers mid week so I know what I have to work with to work menus.


When Matt interviewed this week they told him it would be late next week before we heard anything as they were interviewing two more applicants next week for the position.  Apparently he must have really aced the interview because they called him Thursday and offered him a position.  We're moving!!!  We're so excited it's hard to contain.  Last night we took his mother out to our favorite Mexican restaurant to celebrate.  Now the panic of how we're going to pull it together is setting in.

With everything going down I haven't been sleeping well.  I woke up at 3 or so this morning and didn't get back to sleep until Matt got up for work about 6:30'ish.  Ended up sleeping until about 10:30, which totally threw my day off.  I'm giving serious thought to trying the herb Valerian again which helps with sleep.  I did manage to get a couple loads of laundry done.  We did a Costco run and picked up a paper shredder that we've been wanting for several years so we can shred stuff that we have in our file cabinets that doesn't need to be moved with us.  We also picked up flea treatment for the furkids. We typically use Frontline but decided to try Kirkland's brand and see how it works.  It's nearly half the price and double the doses.  I also sliced up the lemongrass soap into bars that I made on Monday.

I took Lacey to the Bubbles and Bark groomer and used their self service option to groom her.  I think I brushed nearly another dog out of her she had so much coat - maybe even a dog and a puppy.  She's always had a really heavy coat and when she sheds it's worse then all the other furkids combined which is why I only took her in since she takes so much longer.  She looks mighty fluffy and soft at the moment.  Oreo and Tip get the treatment tomorrow.  This self serve is a new place I decided to try.  The other place I've been using cost me about $17 each with upgrades to oatmeal soap and adding conditioner.  Bubbles and Bark cost me $11.99 today so a bit of a savings.  We were both getting tired so I need to finish her pedicure on her back paws.

Well it's after 1 in the morning so I should be getting to bed or I'll really mess up my sleep cycle.  Tomorrow's goal is to weed the flower beds and possibly the garden.  If I'm industrious enough I'd like to make another batch of soap.

Supper tonight:  Spaghetti and garlic bread

Monday, May 28, 2012


We've been in somewhat of a stage of shock this week.  Matt received a phone call last Friday saying that the company he'd interviewed with several weeks ago was interested in him for another position.  They set up a time for him to interview Monday.  On Monday they informed him they were going to have their secretary call him the next day and set up a flight for him to come out an do a face-to-face interview.  They also told him they needed him immediately if they give him a job offer, like two weeks after the interview immediately.  We had a bit of a scare because the secretary didn't call until Wednesday so we had all of Tuesday wondering if they'd changed their mind.  Needless to say our heads were spinning a bit trying to wrap our heads around how fast this could go down.  We're hoping that since they're dropping a considerable amount of money to fly him out there that they're serious and he'll receive a job offer.  We've been shopping for a new shirt and tie and everything is ready - all he needs to do is pack at this point.  He'll be up about 4:30 tomorrow morning to make his early flight.  We're hoping for a job offer tomorrow.

The first thing we dealt with this morning was an extremely invasive Trojan virus that infected my computer.  Matt used a program called Trojan Killer, about $39, to strip it out of my system.  It appears to have done a great job.  The Trojan virus shows up initially as what appears to be a Windows popup saying you've been infected and you need to download something - DON'T!  You're already infected but it will just dig itself into your system more if you open the file.  It's not Windows even though the filed is called Windows Defense Council. 

It's in the 90's already today.  Jamestown, North Dakota is 57.  Need I state which state I wish I was in!  The last thing I want to do today is heat up the house any more then it already is.  I've had to turn the air on already.  For supper I put some chicken in the crockpot with some root beer bbq sauce and that's simmering away to make pulled chicken sandwiches for supper.  I'll probably make potato salad since I've got a craving for it.  Matt is helping my youngest son pick up his new bed and set it up.  My two youngest bought a double wide mobile home together and are sharing expenses.

I swept the living room yesterday but the dogs and cats are blowing their coats and the floor was covered again so I reswept the living room, hallway, and our bedroom.  I have all the laundry done and folded/put away.  I also managed to make some lemongrass goat milk soap this afternoon.  I'm so excited to finally get some of this made.  I love the scent of lemongrass to wake me up in the morning especially in the summer - it's such a nice clean invigerating scent.  Matt enjoys it too in the morning.  It just wakes up your scenses.  Unfortunately it won't be ready for at a month to use.  I'm also in the process of setting up an Etsy shop to sell my soaps in.  I've had a lot of people ask me about getting some so I figure an Etsy store will be the easiest method of selling for now. 

Have a thoughtful Memorial Day!

Monday, May 14, 2012


I posted about the spindle that Matt's sister gifted me with a couple posts back.  Last Tuesday I went to my second spinning class, except this time I used the spindle instead of the wheel.  I found it was surprisingly easy to use.  I also found that I had better control of my drafting with the spindle and therefore was able to get my thread much thinner. 

The one thing they had me do was use my leftover roving from my first spinning lesson with the wheel.  Unfortunately the yarn she sent was compacted as she'd apparently had it a while and it's going to take some work to make it usable.  The brown roving is a dream to work with.  I'm definitely addicted to spinning.  It's so soothing.  I read recently that it's great for lowering blood pressure.  We'll see if I can get off of some of my blood pressure meds!


I FINALLY finished this celtic aran earflap hat I started in late December.  For some reason it was one of those projects that just wasn't meant to get done when it was supposed to and that drives me crazy especially when it's for somebody else. 

This particular project had many problems with it.  I've knitted cables before but for some reason this particular pattern kicked my butt.  I had to rip it out five times and restart.  At that point I remembered reading something in a book about lifelines.  Lifelines are a thread that's pulled through a row so if you made a mistake you only have to rip it back to the last lifeline instead of the whole project.  They came in very handy and saved me at least twice.  If you've never done cables it's easy to make mistakes and the problem is you don't see them sometimes for several rows. 

Second problem I had was that I got sick with bronchitis & pneumonia back in January and wasn't able to work on it for nearly three months.  The cable pattern was complicated enough that I couldn't follow it for any length of time without it giving me headaches.  The picture on the pattern was done in a solid color and the cable pattern didn't stand out in the cap so I thought it was just knitted straight without cables - wrong - the whole thing was done in cables.  Cables are time consuming.

Third problem was at the very end.  I've done I-cords before but never the way they wanted it knitted as an edging.  The directions were a bit confusing.  I finally got to the point where I said enough was enough and it was getting done.  I ended up going in to the yarn store this past Saturday and spending the day there while I finished it.  The woman that worked with me, Lois, even had to play with it a bit to figure out what they were doing and then modified it once she figured it out.  She'd done this type of edging before so she had at least an idea of where they were going with the directions.  It required picking up stitches around the edge on a circular needles then using two double pointed needles to work the I-cord.  Thankfully I'm coordinated enough to work with three needles.

It was finally finished Saturday night when I attached the tassles.  The colors are dark gray and lavender.  The woman I made it for was very happy with it when I gifted her with it today.  She's waited a long time to receive it.  It's a beautiful pattern.  I'll probably do a solid color the next time.  She wanted a two tone hat with these colors.  If anybody is interested in the pattern it's a Knit Pick pattern that you can download.  There's a small fee for it.

Monday, May 7, 2012


I'm finally starting to feel better today.  Still really fatigued but better then I was yesterday.  I napped out for about an hour after I got home from work.  I did manage to go out Sunday for some groceries.  My goal has been to spend about $50 a week on food for us and I've been failing miserably.  Now that I'm having to pay the Jeep payments it's no longer an option, I have to get our food budget under better control.  Yesterday was a great start.  I went to Kroger and spent about $36 and then spent $16 at Target on food.  I ended up getting more at Kroger then I planned due to finding really good unadvertised deals that I had coupons to match - so I basically stocked for future meals.  I can live with $52 for the week.

2 limes 80c
broccoli $1.67 sale price
turnip $1.01
cauliflower $1.67 sale price
2 cucumbers 10/$10 sale price - $2.00
bag of red onions $3.49
Hormel Bacon Natural Uncured - regular price $6.59 - unadvertised special sale price $3.99 - .50 coupon +.50 double coupon = $2.99
2 packages of Tyson chicken breast $3.37 + $3.59 sale price
Angus Ground Beef $3.94 sale price
Johnsonville Sausage - New Orleans Smoked - $2.99 sale price - .75 coupon = $2.24
2 Ball Park Hot Dogs 2/$3 sale price - .50 coupon - .50 double coupon = $1 per package/$2.00
Eggland Eggs $2.69 - .35 coupon - .35 double coupon = $1.99
Horizon Organic Milk $3.98

2 PF Chang Meals $6.99 ea sale price = $15.90

I realized I forgot to get some lettuce so I will probably go back and get some Romaine but I'll check the garden first as I know I saw some starting to grow out there.  The price for the PF Chang meals was a super deal.  We use these meals for nights when we're just too tired to cook.  $6.99 for a meal is the price of one value meal at a fast food joint so even though it seems expensive, it actually does save money.  I also occasionally will take 1/2 of a package for my lunch.  Johnsonville sausage will be combined with a Zantara's Jambalaya Rice Mix we already have in the cabinet.  I'm not a big hot dog eater but I couldn't pass the Ball Park deal up especially with the coupon for another easy meal option.  We'd bought a huge double package of bacon at Costco last week but when I saw the deal for the Hormel's bacon I had to grab it.  Bacon can be frozen so I can keep it for future meals.

I don't count my medications in with my grocery budget for various reasons.  I have horrible allergies and this year is proving to be a bad one already so when I saw this deal for Zrtec D at Target I had to grab it.  Target sent out a booklet of coupons a couple weeks ago and there was a $2 off Zyrtec coupon.  I clipped a coupon for $7 of a 24 pack that had to be used by yesterday so total coupons stacked were $9 off.  Cost was $22.59 - $9 = $13.59 plus tax for the 24 pack which was about the same price as the 12 pack which was on sale.

Lunch: Peanut butter & strawberry homemade freezer jam on the homemade potato bread, mandarin oranges and Anne's chocolate graham bunnies
Supper:  Stuffed peppers - used the Angus ground beef for this

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Last night I was excited to be invited to a pinning ceremony for one of the soldiers that I work with.  He has been with our Company since shortly after I started six years ago.  I always wished I could have set him up with one of my daughters, he'd have been the perfect son-in-law.  At times I've felt like a proud mother watching his career.  Several of us left the party and went to a bowling alley.  After we got there and the other women realizing it was karaoke night our bowling plans got sidelined and we spent the night playing pool and darts.  It was a nice being able to hang out with people I work with.  I don't get to do it very often.

Today I started off with the best of intentions in getting the house cleaned so I could spend time tomorrow doing something like reading a book or spend the day knitting.  Unfortunately today was one of those days where I've felt off all day and haven't been able to accomplish what I'd planned in my head.  I ended up taking some meds and taking a nap while they kicked in.  As Matt pointed out when I whined about it, I have accomplished quite a bit:

* 2 loads of laundry washed
* made potato bread in the bread machine using leftover mashed potatoes that would have been tossed
* made hard boiled eggs - had planned to use them for potato salad but we ended up using them for egg salad sandwiches
* crocheted 2 double sided dish scrubbies - netting on one side and cotton on the other
* I did manage to get most of the living room cleaned, just need to do the floor tomorrow

Since Matt had a guys jam session planned last night I knew I'd be on my own for supper.   I took a container of venison barley soup out of the freezer and planned to fix it for myself which I didn't end up making since I went to the pinning.  I used it instead for our lunch today.  I also had a package of naan bread that was going to go bad soon if I didn't use it so I topped it with some leftover pizza cheese and a good quantity of ground Italian herbs (Aldi grinder).  It was a nice variation of grilled cheese.  It was a very tasty lunch.

We had planned to make grilled venison steaks and potato salad for supper.  As you can see my plans aren't working out well but I try to make the most of what we have on hand.  The venison steaks have been put on hold for tomorrow.  Instead we took the eggs I'd prepared and made egg salad sandwiches using the potato bread.  Matt prepared a salad to go with it.  It was an easy supper since neither of us really wanted to cook.

Friday, May 4, 2012


More on going drama with my current job contract has caused me to get serious about looking for another full time position.  I've been attempting to find a part time position to supplement my current position which was reduced from full time to part time about a year ago.  The 4 year contract we were under was completed 8 months ago.  Since that time we haven't known what was going on with the contract and still don't.  We are currently on the 3rd extension of the contract after they'd announced twice that another company was taking over the contract, made us jump through that company's hoops in an attempt to keep our jobs, and then announced at the last minute that they were extending us under our current contract.  I've literally left work on the last day of a contract not knowing if I'd be reporting to work the next day.  I love my job BUT I'm tired of being left dangling and not knowing.  I have responsibilities and bills to pay.

Working for the Army and being fully aware of the drastic budget cuts they've been forced to make does not make me comfortable with my job's longevity either.  I can totally foresee with the continuing downsizing planned and possible further budget cuts that my job will most likely be totally eliminated.  At this point I think it's a matter of when, not if, although some disagree with me on that.  I tend to live in reality and I prepare for the inevitable when possible and I think the continued 2 month extensions are a sign I'm probably correct.

I'm finding the current job market difficult and somewhat confusing to navigate in.  The constant contradictions in recommendations leaves me wondering what I'm really supposed to do.  Contradictions regarding resumes alone are enough to make me want to beat my head against a wall.  I don't know how many rewrites I've done of my resume.  How to format, what info to put on, what info not to put on, how much info to include, which jobs to include, length of resume, put volunteer information, don't put volunteer information and it goes on and on.  Some say keep it short and simple BUT my job is anything but short and simple. 

Keywords - if you don't have the right ones you don't get through the electronic scanners so your resume gets to a live person.  They say not to use overused, clique, and vague words but how do you know which ones to avoid?  Lists given contradict each other.

Write a Resume That Makes You Stand Out - With so many people looking for jobs, particularly in the Metro Detroit area, how do you write a resume that's truthful and yet makes you stand out?  They want you to come across as a team player yet contradict this by telling you to point out what "you" did for the last company you worked for. 

Clothes - Most say to dress like you'd be required to at the job or better.  Suits are typically recommended although if the office is very casual they say to dress in office casual attire for the interview.  Typically that wouldn't be an issue.  Unfortunately with the reduced salary for the past year replacing items in my closet that I've had to toss has not been in the budget.  I searched thrift stores and consignment stores but of course because there was an immediate need I couldn't find anything.  I was able to make do with a single purchase of a black blazer from JCPenny for $37.  I combined it with the black slacks I got at the Avenue on clearance a couple weeks ago and a blouse I've had forever.  The blacks didn't match but the fashionistas say that's okay.  If you have friends that are the same size you could always ask to borrow an item or suit.  Most friends would be more then happy to help out.  Unfortunately none of my friends are the same size so this wasn't an option.

My suggestions for anybody in a similar situation is to create several resumes in different formats and with varying amounts of information then post to multiple sites to see which one starts getting viewed the most.  From there you can tweak that resume and put it on the other sites to see if that increases hits.  It's sort of like fishing and figuring out which bait the fish want.

I had an interview Tuesday and I have another one tonight with a different company, so hopefully I'll be reporting a change of job soon.  I know I will cry when I leave my current position because even thinking about saying goodbye brings tears to my eyes.  I started working here when I was going through my divorce six years ago.  It provided me with a feeling of security, not only because I'd be working full time and could finally support myself but the physical feeling of safety after leaving a marriage that had become abusive.  There's nothing like being surrounded by military to feel safe.  I've had friends who bought houses and moved off base complain afterwards about how they miss the feeling of safety and security.  Being prior military myself I'm very comfortable with being around military.  Leaving will be very bittersweet for me but hopefully fates will find me another wonderful place to land.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I arrived home yesterday to find a package in between the doors.  Thinking it was a birthday present for Matt I sat it down and didn't really look at it closely.  When I went back to grab the mail to sort it I glanced down at the box to discover my name on the box.  When I opened it I discovered this beautiful spindle and wool.  Matt's sister sent it to me.  The spindle was her first one and the one she learned to spin with and she has passed it on to me to learn with.  She also sent me some roving to get started with.  What an awesome unexpected gift.  I played with it a little bit last night but think I'll go into the knit shop and get at least one lesson to get it down better and make sure I'm working it right. 

Matt's birthday was yesterday.  I took him out to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Grand Azteca.  we go to the one on Groesbeck for those that know the area.  They have Grand Azteca in quite a few locations but they're not all the same quality.  We skipped the dessert this time since I had bought a cheesecake, per his request, so we came home and enjoyed a slice of that.  It was an enjoyable evening and he was happy with it.  We don't tend to do anything super fancy for our birthdays.

Lunch:  Salad in a jar - just romaine and pita chips with some of the fattouch dressing
Supper:  Tuna salad sandwiches and leftover chicken noodle with a slice of cheesecake for dessert

I wasn't feeling well and with the weather in the 80's today it was just too hot to eat so we ate light.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I have managed to get a little bit of reading in lately so I thought I'd share a wonderful book that I just finished.  "Letters of a Woman Homesteader" by Elinore Pruitt Stewart.  I downloaded this from Amazon for Kindle for free but hadn't read it and then found a paperback copy of it on  There's still a Kindle version still available for free, you just have to look and see which one.  I'm so glad I found a paperback copy since this is definitely a keeper.  Since I started participating on the Mary Jane's Farm forums I've developed an interest in women who pioneered or homesteaded and ordered several books from to read as time allows.

Elinore is a widow with a young daughter who had moved to Wyoming to homestead.  The book contains letters she sends to Mrs. Coney, the woman she worked as a washer woman for prior to moving to Burnt Fork.  It covers several years of her life and describes her life and adventures to her dear friend.  The first letter is dated April 18, 1909. 

I found some of her adventures amazing.  The way she would bundle up her daughter and then later her sons and go off on her adventures is truly amazing.  The bravery of starting off in a sled during the harsh winters to visit somebody took a lot of courage.  The compassion of cooking for days and taking the food out to the sheepherder's camps.  She wrote a number of times that she felt more women should leave the city and homestead.  She figured they could live better even if they just grew potatoes.  Mrs. Coney may have questioned this because Elinore later writes that she'd done an experiment and listed all that her and her daughter had been able to grow for a year without any other help except having one of the men plow the fields prior to planting.  When she first arrived she did barter her cooking skills during harvesting season for several days to pay for her crops to be harvested. 

Most of the letters left me wishing she'd written more extensively of the events even though she profusely apologizes to Mrs. Coney in nearly every letter about how wordy and lengthy the letters were.  It's a sign of a good book when you're left wanting to know more.  It also left me wishing states still offered free land to homestead and prove.  This book was made into a movie which I found on Amazon but it's a bit too pricey for me especially when I haven't seen it and don't know if it's a movie that I'd watch frequently enough to justify the cost.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Work this week has been extremely slow, slower then usual, and after my recent schedule the lack of anything to do was driving me a bit crazy.  I'm not one of those people that can sit around and do nothing day after day.  I have to be productive in some way.

Friday night we did a Costco run.  I had run out of my Tazo Chai Tea concentrate earlier in the week and that's like some people running out of coffee, which was another reason we needed to go.  We enjoy Friday night Costco runs since we can graze and it's not as crowded as Saturdays or Sundays are.  Of course it was home to watch the Red Wings game.

Friday Menus:
Lunch:  Taco Salad in a Jar.  I put the Russian Dressing in the bottom which I will rethink the next time.  I may just start packing the dressing separately since this time it just didn't want to combine with everything when I shook it, like it was too thick or I'd packed the lettuce to tight.  On top of the dressing I put lettuce, 1/3 cup fried hamburger, 3 tbsp of cheese, and most of a small bag of Doritos crushed up.
Supper:  Out to Eat.  We were both craving steaks so we went to Texas Roadhouse for supper.

I ran some errands this morning.  I'd hoped to get a pair of my clogs repaired but the cobbler told me they weren't repairable.  The leather was still in really good shape even though they were probably close to 10 years old so I was a bit bummed.  They were a comfortable pair of shoes.  I didn't get to take the dogs to the do-it-yourself dog wash to groom.

I've been needing to purchase office attire for quite a while now.  Today I scored at the Avenue.  They were having a 60% off clearance sale.  I was able to get a pair of black work pants and a sleeveless long black knit shell for just under $28.  I'd love to find a loose gold belt to wear with this outfit.  Pants need to be hemmed but that's an easy fix.

Matt called the shop and the Jeep was finally ready for pickup.  What a nightmare this has been.  Two weeks ago we got a call that they had gotten the engine in but an anti-theft light would come on when it was started and would shut the engine off.  After checking several possibilities it was determined that there was something wrong with the key, $160 for a new key and another $150 for a tech to program it with the computer.  Unbelievable, we now have over $2600 in repairs we've put in this vehicle.  The transmission pan is also leaking and Matt's hoping that he can repair that himself.  His brother, who's a mechanic, is due back within the next two weeks so we'll have him give it a good going over so we know where we are with it. 

The rest of my day has been spent trying to find transcription work to do from home.  I found out about a site that you can do piece work on and have been trying to work my way through the various levels so I can get better paying jobs offered to me.  It's definitely not going to make me rich but it's a start and I can list it as experience.

Saturday Menus:
Lunch:  McDonald's
Supper:  Chicken breast stuffed with wild rice and mushrooms (Costco) and bacon wrapped asparagus.  Aldi's had some beautiful, thin asparagus that I couldn't pass up.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hell Week - week 1

I thought I'd posted this but found it in my drafts tonight so I'll post it even though it's about 2 weeks late.  It gives you the idea of what type of insane schedule I was going to have to work if I'd stayed at the hotel.


The fact that I work for the military is probably why my mind made this connection that this week has sort of been like Hell Week during Basic Training.  Once you make it through Hell Week everything gets easier and that's sort of what I think will happen.

When I left work Friday night I'd officially completed a little over 78 hours in 7 days.  I've actually been surprised at how well I've done this week.  The exhaustion I'd expected has not set in.  My feet are not hurting as badly as they were from standing.  Having worked a desk job for over 6 years my feet were not accustomed to standing 12 hours straight.  I have plantar fascitis in both feet which compounded the pain.  My purchasing a pair of crocs designed for restaurant workers was a wise decision.

Wednesday:  First night off since starting the second job.  Pure exhaustion.  I came home and took a two hour nap but felt physically exhausted to the point I couldn't seem to do anything.  I allowed my body the rest.  Days like these I think we all need to learn to listen to our bodies and if they say rest then we need to rest.  I was too tired to even read.

Lunch: leftovers
Supper: Brats and mac & cheese

Thursday:  Second day off and apparently by allowing my body to rest Wednesday allowed my body to recuperate.  I felt pretty normal, almost normal energy, although still a bit of tiredness.  When I came home from work I started an oven roast.  It was an easy meal to prep and allowed me to do other things while it cooked.  My focus for the night was the living room.  It took about an hour to clean, dust, sweep, and mop.  I also put a load of laundry in before I left for work, after I got home, and then a third load before I went to bed.  After I completed that I sat down and read my new Country Woman magazine.

Lunch: peanut butter & jelly sandwich, carrot sticks, and apple slices  - I was actually craving the peanut butter & jelly sandwich so I was glad I'd picked up some peanut butter the day before
Supper: beef roast, carrots, and potatoes with gravy and crescent rolls

Friday's Menu:

Lunch:  fattouch salad in a jar
Dinner: leftover beef roast, carrots, and potatoes from Thursday night's dinner

I've been seeing salads in jars and meals in jars recipes recently and decided to try some.  I have tons of mason jars so these type of meals will work great.  The fattouch salad was fabulous. 

Fattouch in a jar

Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of dressing in the bottom of the jar.  I bought a bottle of fattouch dressing at Cedar Grill and used it.  Chop romaine lettuce up and put into jar.  Push down periodically as you fill so it packs it in some.  Add cukes on top.  I chopped up some pitted kalamata olives and added.  I put the broken up pita chips in smaller containers so they wouldn't get soggy. Just add the pita chips when your ready to eat and shake the jar until the dressing is mixed with the lettuce thoroughly. 

You could also add feta cheese on top of the cukes if you'd like.  I was out of feta so I didn't add any.  If you'd like some protein like chicken you could add it either below or above the lettuce.

Cleaning, job searching, and menues

Saturday and Sunday I spent getting the house back up to standards.  I think I did at least 6 loads of laundry, maybe more.  Saturday morning I decided a spa morning was in order before I started my cleaning routine.  After I got out of the tub I dumped 1 cup of citric acid in the water and mixed it up.  I allowed it to sit until Matt got home from work and would need a shower.  I didn't get to scrub the tub until Sunday afternoon but the tub is once again looking majorly clean and bright.  Matt even asked me what I'd used to clean it.  As Matt would say, "I was a cleaning fool."  Sunday night I took the furkids out for a wander.  They all needed it pretty bad.  I need to get them in shape to walk a parade next month.  A friend is recruiting dogs to walk in the Memorial Day Parade for a local dog grooming and self wash.  It's good to keep the furkids in action with this type of stuff so they still get exposure to lots of people.  The parade is 1.5 miles so it's not that bad as long as it's not insanely hot.  I'd just like to knock a couple (okay quite a few) pounds off Lacey (okay and myself) before we do it.  Tip is nice and svelte but Oreo could knock a few off as well. 

The weekend was also spent sending out resumes and applying for jobs.  Haven't heard anything from any of them unfortunately.  I did find a listing today on Craigslist for a weekend receptionist.  I faxed over my resume, got a call to set up an interview, and interviewed on my way home from work.  I think the position would be great for me.  It's a senior apartment complex, very upscale.  I enjoy working with older people.  I also found a listing for transcription work for a court reporter that I will probably check out as well. 

Detroit and I can probably safely say the entire state of Michigan is in hockey playoff madness.  It's the first round of the playoffs.  So far the Red Wings are down 1-2.  I had never seen a hockey game prior to moving to Michigan but have fallen in love with the sport.  I actually prefer the minor leagues as I think they play with more heart.  Just my opinion.  Matt keeps calling me to come watch since the Wings apparently are playing really well.

Menus for the week:

Sunday:  Broccoli & Cheesy Beer Soup with cheesy biscuits
Monday: Pancakes and sausage
Tuesday:  Wendy's (I was dying for a spicy chicken sandwich for some reason)
Wednesday: Bacon Ranch Chicken with California veggies
Thursday:  Brats & baked beans
Friday: Homemade Mac & Cheese

Friday, April 13, 2012


My youngest son turned 20 last month and between his work schedule and mine we've had to reschedule three times to go out for a movie and dinner.  Tonight we managed it although it nearly got shortened.  We went to see The Hunger Games.  I thought it was pretty good.  I might start reading the books.  I was so embarrassed because I thought I'd turned my ringer off and my phone went off during the movie.  I quickly turned it off but was horrified that I was one of "those" people.  My son's phone went off too right after mine which was a little weird.  They were calling him in to work since another employee had walked off the job.  After the movie was over they called again and told him they'd found somebody so he didn't have to come in so we were able to enjoy our planned trip to his favorite Chinese restaurant. 

It's strange to think my son is 20 already.  I've been melancholy of late and missing the days when the kids were younger and home.  My oldest son should be arriving back in Texas from Afghanistan any day.  I'll sleep much better once he's back.  I miss spending time with the kids.  He stayed for a little bit and we searched  He enjoys reading anime books and was looking for new reading material.  I had two books he'd previously ordered that had come so he's got some reading material.  I also found a pair of his shorts in the computer room the other day when I was working in there that needed a new button so I sewed that on for him and returned those.

Lunch:  Leftover steak and pepper onion mix, chocolate chip cookies

Supper:  Out to Eat - Chinese - sweet and sour soup, eggroll, fried rice, and sesame chicken.  Tons of leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Tuesday I spent cleaning out my coupons and filing all the new ones then going grocery shopping.  No idea why but by the time I was done with that I hit exhaustion so no housework got completed unfortunately.  The dogs were restless  so about 8pm I took them out for a quick wander.  Thankfully it helped . 

Lunch: Burrito with sour cream and cheese, romaine with pita chips and fattouch dressing and some Anne's chocolate bunny grahams (yum).  Matt had bought some frozen burritos to eat on nights I worked so I grabbed one of those.  I love these lunch containers with the 3 compartments.  I'm going to have to get a few more.

Supper:  Grilled steak sandwiches on crusty rolls with provolone cheese and sauteed sweet peppers, green pepper, and onions.  I saw bags of small sweet peppers at Costco and grabbed one thinking a steak sandwich sounded perfect for a meal this week.  I noticed Kroger also had them on sale for $3.99/bag.  What I didn't use I sliced in half and frozen for future use. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Well life does seem to like throwing me curve balls of late.  After two weeks at the new job I've officially quit and with Matt's total blessing  The manager of the hotel I was working at definitely takes 2nd worse boss in history.  He told me that I was being hired in at $8/hr and would quickly go up from there when he made me manager but when I got my check for the first week discovered he'd put me at $7.40/hr.  I also discovered that he'd pretty much promised management positions to everybody.  There's nothing worse then a lying manager.  I've never seen such lousy management skills either. If he was in the military he'd be relieved of command and probably Article 15'ed out.  The final straw occurred Sunday when I was nearly attacked by irate guests due to something another coworker had done and said. It was like watching a chemical reaction going off and anything I tried to do just made it worse.  I had to call the police and there was a point I could feel the energy change and knew it could turn violent before the police got there.  No job is worth my life.  I could never return to a job where I didn't feel safe at and I most definitely no longer felt safe there.  The first day I worked they'd mentioned a front desk clerk had been attacked and hospitalized after a guest attacked them but I thought they were just trying to scare us.  The near attack on Sunday seriously shook me up.  To increase revenues they plan to allow hourly room rentals in the near future, which would draw in more prostitutes, pimps, and drug dealers.  Definitely not the place for me.  So I'm back to job hunting.  I'm looking at some transcription sites and hope to test for a few companies this week. 

I didn't do well last week keeping up on the cleaning and I'll admit that it was nice today to start to put the house back in order.  Today's focus was the living room.  Another huge tumbleweed of dog and cat fur was swept up from the living room.  I'll have to take a pictures one day of these tumbleweeds because it's amazing how large they are.  I could understand if I didn't sweep for a long period of time but it gets swept a minimum of once a week.  I might take one of the dogs to the doggie self wash this week so I can blow some of the fur out they're shedding.  With these warmer temps they're shedding earlier this year. If I can get a second job I'll probably buy a dog blower so I can groom them at home instead of having to pay all the time.  I also had stacks of books on the coffee table that I'd ordered from so those needed to be put into the bookcase.  Newspapers were scattered across the coffee table that needed to be sorted and tossed.  Now the living room has been cleaned and is comfortable again.  I even washed the blanket in Lacey's crate and Oreo's blanket she has for the couch.  There are still coupons on the coffee table from the paper sorting but I'll get to those later this week.  I'd hoped to clean off the top of the dishwasher but didn't make it that far.

Tonight Matt made chicken terriyaki stir-fry and rice for supper.  I was running late leaving for work so I didn't get a lunch packed.  I picked up a hamburger and small fry at Burger King on my way home.  I had to stop at the post office and UPS store on my way home. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring ----A Time For Changes

Life is one of those things that constantly changes and we have to adapt accordingly.  My job was cut in September from a full time 40 hr/week position to a part time 30 hr/week position.  I've been trying to find another position, part time or another full time position.  I've been able to survive due to having very few bills, being frugal, using coupons as much as possible, and rarely going out.  If I'd had to support myself fully it would have been impossible to have survived in our area on my pay.  Life caught up with me recently with a financial crisis causing me to accept a second job that I wouldn't have chosen before.  My youngest daughter who I would have described as the must responsible and trust worthy of my kids has chosen to walk away from a vehicle loan that I allowed her to put in my name but not before blowing the engine in it.  My ex refused to help her repair it but instead offered her assistance in getting another vehicle if she walked away from it and let me deal with it. (Is it any wonder I'm no longer married to him?)  I am now on the line financially for the unpaid payments, unpaid insurance, and future vehicle and insurance payments but also for a $2600 engine repair so the vehicle will even run.  I needed another vehicle but this vehicle was not one I would have chosen and I would never have bought something with such high monthly payments.  Fates apparently had other plans.  Word of warning - don't ever allow anybody to put anything in your name - it rarely works.  Many people warned me but I insisted my daughter would NEVER do anything like that.  How wrong I was.

My manager at the new job assured me that my only wanting 18 to 24 hours a week was acceptable yet has put me on a 40 hr/week schedule.  Putting the two jobs together that makes roughly a 70+ hr/week.  It's been suggested that I quit and find something else but that's not an option at the moment.  The fact that it is a full time position, even if it is minimum wage, may end up being a life saver if I find myself unemployed at my first job when our contract ends the end of April.  We are currently on the second extension of our last contract and this extension was only for two months.  I don't think it bodes well at the moment.  I had enrolled at a massage school to start classes in May hoping to be able to move into another field either full or part time but that's no longer an option.  Fate can be cruel but having a pity party won't help with the issues so there's no point in dwelling on it.  It is what it is and I have to deal with it.  The new job eases the huge stress I've been under financially but creates it's own stresses obviously.

Working so many hours leaves very few hours to do anything else during the week to say the least.  As my life is now changing, I have the option to either stop blogging, put the blog on hiatus, or to share my attempts to organize and survive until I find another position that better suits my life better.  I have chosen the latter.  For those of us that take our debts seriously and in the lousy economy we are currently living in I'm sure I'm not the only person that has had to take a second or possibly a third job to make ends meet.  If my sharing my struggles with learning to manage my household and other responsibilities helps somebody else then it will be worth it. 

I hope to be able to share my struggles with having to pack all my meals before I leave the house without breaking the bank.  I'm hoping there's a way to organize and keep our house clean since hiring somebody to clean isn't an option.  I refuse to believe that I won't be able to have a garden so I need to figure out how to manage that also.  Caring for the dogs is a huge concern.  I've been working this schedule for a week and already the dogs are showing they have too much energy and need to do something to wear them out before they start getting destructive. Excessive energy is a huge problem for those of us with high energy breeds like the Border Collie.  Of course there's also concerns of how to keep a relationship going between Matt and I along with maintaining a relationship with my adult children.  My son is due back from Afghanistan in two weeks and it tears me apart that I can't go out to Texas to see him when he gets back stateside.  Hopefully he'll take mercy on me and come back for a visit.
I don't want anybody to think I'm having a pity party for myself.  I've accepted it and have learned from the experience.  I'm a fighter and although I may have an occasional pity party for myself it doesn't last long.  I know that this too shall pass.  Hopefully what I learn along the way will help somebody else out who may be in a similar situation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Asian Glazed Tilapia

I'll be honest, I've never cooked fish before other then baking salmon.  I absolutely love fish so I can't explain why I haven't pan fried fish before.  Matt has always cooked it since we've been together.  Prior to that I never cooked fish because nobody in the family liked fish except for myself so I would have it when we went out to eat on occasion. 

Tonight I braved the scary world of fish cooking and I aced it.  I saw the recipe for Asian Glazed Tilapia on The Frugal Girl's Blog and thought it looked delicious so I added it to the menu for this week.  I had originally thought to substitute salmon since Aldi's lowered their salmon price but when I went shopping I stopped at Krogers first and they had tilapia on sale for almost the same price so I grabbed the fresh tilapia.  The one thing I might alter in this recipe is adding either a scallion or green onions to it.  I served it with Dole's Asian Island Salad and it was a nice light meal which I can safely say will be repeated over the summer.  This is an awesome fast recipe, which probably took me about 15 minutes and that included opening and preparing the salad.

Matt has been telling me for years about these fish tacos he had out in California and after tasting the glazed fish he said the fish tasted just like the fish in those tacos so I'm anticipating fish tacos will be appearing on the menu using this recipe too.

One word of caution regarding buying fish at the fish counter - watch the weight.  I told the guy I wanted 1 pound and didn't realize until I went to check out and saw the price that he'd actually given me 1.5 pounds.  Granted I have a piece to take to lunch tomorrow but if I didn't like leftovers this would be a waste of food - well to a degree - the dogs would have loved eating it and weren't to happy that it went into the refrigerator. 


I need a vacation just to catch up on my blogging!  So many things I want to blog about.  Since I have a few minutes here's my menus for this week.

Sunday: Potluck with friends.  Grilled rabbit was the main course (yum).  We took calico beans.

Monday: Corn beef sandwiches (leftover corn beef from Saturday) with ranch bow tie pasta salad

Tuesday:  Planned:  Chicken leg quarters, noodles, and California mix
                 Actual:  Cheese tortellini with chicken, roasted red pepper, and Alfredo sauce, California mix, and crescent rolls

Wednesday:  Asian glazed tilapia and Asian salad

Thursday:  Homemade pizza

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Things have been a bit nutty and I didn't get any blogging done this week.  Here's my menus we used for the past week.  The picture above was taken in the fall.  Our Mary Jane's Farm local group were privileged to be able to drive some antique tractors.  I apparently did a good job driving initially because he had me drive out on the dirt road instead of just in circles.  The shifting is a bit tricky on these so he did the shifting and we got to drive.

Sunday Brunch:  French Toast & bacon.
I woke up with a migraine so it was a good thing Matt had planned to cook this day.

Monday: Cube steaks, mashed potatoes, gravy, and fried corn.
This was a pure comfort food day since I was dealing with the after effects of the migraine.

Tuesday:  Italian chicken, broccoli and rice pilaf.
I put the chicken and broccoli in a roasting pan and added about 1/3 cup Italian dressing.  Baked at 350' for an hour. 

Wednesday:  Venison steaks, asparagus, and crescent rolls.

Thursday:  Taco Salad.
With the warm weather we've been having I'll be incorporating salads more.

Friday:  Dinner out.  It was my Captain's going away dinner and we were invited.  Hibachi Grill.  I had steak and lobster which was absolutely sublimely delicious.  Matt had the steak and calamari, which was equally delicious.  Neither of us have ever been to a hibachi style restaurant so it was a lot of fun and very entertaining experience.  The Captain gave me a gift card that paid for most of our meal which is why we were able to eat a little better then we would without the gift card.  It was a very nice gift for sure and much appreciated.

Saturday:  Corn beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots.  I cooked this in the pressure cooker.