Friday Things

It is another beautiful fall day here in Northern California. There is nowhere else I’d like to live except the coast. But not really, I need mountains and such.  Next week brings rain so it’ll change as it should. Nothing stays the same.

Today, I’ve been puttering around. I made a vegan banana bread. It’s from the blogger Sadia at ‘Pick up Limes’.  It is one of the best banana breads I’ve ever made. She has very beautiful food photos and her recipes are really quite delicious. All vegan.

Then I tidied around the house, and I’m finishing 2 loads of laundry as I had enough to do a small load of white.  As a minimalist, I find it much simpler to do one load a day and a few times a week a second. Fly lady is where I originally got the idea but it’s around a lot of other blogs.

I dusted around the house and watered my plant friends.  Not much decluttering although I did put a few pairs of earrings in a bag for Goodwill.  I’m up to 700 items in October. As I said lots of small things, but they do add up.

At the recommendation of a fellow blogger, I read’ My year of no clutter’. It’s an interesting book which focuses on her hoarding tendencies and anxieties. But I gleaned a lot from the book and would recommend it.

Right now I’m reading from the library, ‘unstuffed’.  I was going to buy this off amazon but it seemed to indicate some Christian things in it so I didn’t. So far I haven’t seen much in that way except a bible verse.  If a book starts including the Christian stuff especially related to minimalism, I quickly close the book.  It may all be fine and good for them to think Jesus was a minimalist, and yes I’m  pretty sure in 20BC there weren’t any Walmarts around so, yeah, not owning much there.  Not to be judgmental, but it is all relative and one does need to think about these things. Anyhoo, so far I live her ideas and it’s a good read.

 

UPDATE:  The book becomes a little more and more evangelical as it nears the end.  by the last chapter she’s really trying to tell us that only by turning to God can we find Grace. Because He is perfect.  And we are not. So that will help your decluttering journey.

Well, as an atheist, and someone who was a Quaker and a Buddhist previously, I can say with some certainty for me ,There is NO God.   Is he up on a cloud somewhere?  Is he in another dimension? For me, living a life of balance and simplicity is about being here in this life and living it fully and wholly.

Well, my sister will arrive in Sacramento tomorrow and we’ll see her Sunday. Should be a nice day although not as warm as today.

Home made falafel balls

So, this week I made another loaf of the vegan banana bread, but I used regular choc chips so that made them not vegan and it was quite a bit sweeter.   Think I like the dark Valharona choc better.

Then I’ve been experimenting with falafel mixes. I bought a packaged one and it was okay but I knew I could make it for less with out preservatives.

Here’s the recipe  

I was quite skeptical of using the garbanzo beans just soaked over night but it was amazing and a great recipe. I even followed the instructions.

I forgot to take pictures though(as usual).

Then I baked up a batch of tofu to have for lunches. That was tasty too.

I’m reading a fun murder mystery series by Meg Wolfe. She has written the Minimalist Woman and a couple of ebooks. I really like her writing style, very sharp and concise. Here’s the first one in the series.

The first one is loads of fun as she describes a woman going thru downsizing and minimalizing.  Try these,  I think they’re great. But I’m only on Book 2 so far.

 

 

 

tonight, it’s sorta YOYO. Everyone is getting a sandwich at the store but I think I’ll just make some noodles and brown butter. ( my go to comfort food.)

BTW, I got the first coat of Kilz on the wall and tomorrow, I’ll paint the white.

How is the Uber Frugal Month going?

Really, it’s going quite well. I’m am totally enjoying eating our way thru the freezer and pantry. I’ve been to the market a few times but mostly for fresh veggies and milk and 1/2. I’m also enjoying the no spend part of this as we haven’t spent money on anything except necessities. It’s really quite freeing. I am keeping a list of things I’m thinking about so I can evaluate at a later date. For instance, I’d like to get a sewing machine again. I’ve checked Craigslist and they all look like some 1970’s version. I also joined a local buy, sell, trade, free group and posted I was looking for a sewing machine but didn’t get any responses.  So, I’ll keep thinking about that for down the road. We’ve done great on our budget so that’s good too.

The jambalaya was quite good. I didn’t take any pictures but it was Emeril Lagasse’s recipe jambalaya although I didn’t add the chicken broth or chicken it was really good. Next time I’d like to try andouille sausage to taste the difference. I did use up the last of the Costco shrimp for this dish which was part of my goal. Tonight I have a pork tenderloin in the crockpot, but not sure how it’ll come out so my backup plan is twice baked potatoes I’ve frozen and grilled tofu and a salad. Pork is a funny dish for us. We all like pulled pork with BBQ sauce. So, I guess I’ll just see how it is after 6 or so hours in the crock pot.

Still cloudy and cooler. There was some rain showers this morning but not heavy. I decided not to go to town but wait and bundle my errands tomorrow as I have an appointment for my new Invisalign trays. Then to the gym and maybe the thrift store to look for used blankets for the dogs.

I finished a fun mystery book,’Deadly Desires at Honeychurch hall’.  A fun murder mystery taking place in rural England. I enjoyed it and will look for more by the author.

I don’t have any labs till the end of the month so I have a little more time before I start obsessing over them(ha, Ha,).

 

 

 

Book review: ‘Still Here’by Lara Vapnyar

http://www.bloggingforbooks.com/books/view/9781101905524

‘Still here’ by Lara Vapnyar is about 4 Russian friends who all immigrate to NYC to start new lives. I liked the characters in their own way but the story just didn’t really grab  me.

Vica is married to Sergey and have a troubled marriage. She’s a radiological tech and he’s in finance but can’t hold a job.  He ‘s trying to create this app ‘Virtual Grave’ so as to keep the digital stuff a person did in life ‘alive’. Really he wants to just make a lot of money, as creating apps do that if they’re in the market. The other  friends are Regina, and Vadi. Regina is married to a hugely successful man who happens to develop Apps. Vadik is a computer programmer who works there.

It weaves in and out of their lives and their issues.

I would call the book fair. It’s not very compelling and the plot is just the problems in their lives and how they deal with them.

If you like social media issues and the relationship issues, you’ll like this book.

This book was given to me by bloggingfor books.com in exchange for my honest opinion!

 

Dutch oven camp cooking

Lodge camp dutch ovenlodge-camp-dutch-oven-deep.jpg

 

So after reading the cute Frannie Shoemaker series,where they camp in an RV and cook with a dutch oven, I’ve gotten it in my head to cook with a dutch oven when we go to Tahoe in August. So I ordered one on sale from William Sonoma. It’s quite heavy and I have lots of recipes to try. I still need to get the lid lifter, tongs for the charcoal, and gloves.  I want to try some at home first and test it out. It looks like a lot of fun. Plus, I like to have my dinner prep done by 4pm or so and this way I can get stuff in the dutch oven and let it cook. Most of the recipes are for meat but I will try and shift some to vegetarian. I think like, enchiladas, rice veggie casserole, maybe cheesy potatoes.  I will do chicken and beef too but will need a veggie dish as well. Breakfast can be hash brown casserole and then I can do bacon on the side.

I went back to Costco yesterday for a few more things, organic beef, lettuce, OXO, and ?? spent too much overall, but I won’t need to go back for a while. I love  getting the coupon stuff as it makes the price even cheaper than the already less price. Sor some people buying the larger quantity is not worth it but I love not having to think about toothpaste for 6 months or knowing I have 6 cans of black olives. It just makes my life simpler.  As I’ve mentioned before, as far back as 1975 we were buying in bulk from the local co-op and a store named Mother Truckers in North San Juan, CA. It still exists today and is still going strong. We even use to buy are shampoo in bulk. I don’t do that anymore but I do buy the large shampoo and rinse at Costco especially when it’s on coupon. So all in all same concept.

I’m reading a historical fiction about Anton Chekhov called‘The Summer Guest’by Alison Anderson.    So far , interesting.

Dinner is ??? I’ll either get the dutch oven set up if I can get the lid lifter today or put something in the crock pot. I have a chicken I can cook plus a salad. I may go to our local CSA farm as I saw they had tomatoes. I look forward to our tomatoes but theyre not quite ready.

Monday morning

We are having lovely cool weather at least for a few more days, then back to the high 90’s. But it’s been very nice. this morning everyone’s’ off working so I blanched 8 ears of corn and then cut off the cob and froze. We don’t eat a lot of corn but I do like to add it to soups and stews.  Then I made organic long grain white rice for dinner tonight. Using the rice maker is a game changer. If you don’t have one run to Costco and get one. It makes perfect rice every time ,white, brown etc. Tonight I’m making fried rice with veggies and left over pork kabobs ( tofu for the veggie).

I’ve been looking up dutch oven camping recipes and I think it’s going to be fun to cook with a dutch oven. It’s sorta a slow cooker for camping. I sure I’ll burn a few meals, but I’ll try not to. So far, I know I’ll do a breakfast one, chili, a chicken one and  biscuits.  I hope the Lodge dutch oven shows up today. I ordered from Williams Sonoma and quite unhappy with their delivery. No tracking even though it says track your order. Nothing comes up. I sent them an email saying WTF, it’s the 21st century , surely you can track a package to a PO box.  Anyway…

The doggies are adjusting well but one of them still isn’t getting the no peeing at night .These are older dogs and should be completely trained  but now if they keep this up no coming in the house when it gets cold. For now, they’re on the sun porch but in winter that’s not insulated so either they figure it out or that’s where they’ll be.  I’m not having dog pee or poo in the house.

I’ve read some good books lately, I have to get the titles since I don’t pay attention to them to much. oh wait, one was ‘‘Britt-Marie was here’.  an interesting book about a woman,63, who finds herself ‘divorced ‘and forced to find work. Plus she’s OCD and some of it’s pretty funny.  There was another one, but the title eludes me.

I haven’t felt super great since off Velcade but I feel good and my eyes are or seem to be getting better. We have been walking 30 minutes so that’s better. Still ,feel a need to lay down around 1 or 2pm. Maybe it’ll get better. And I still have some GI issues that seem to happen . not sure what to do about that since it’s often without rhyme or reason.  One day I’ll be fine , poof the next dayI ‘m in the bathroom  3-4times. I am concerned about camping next month so I might check on getting that prescription some people use for diarrhea . I use Immodium but sometimes that makes me feel bloated and then it doesn’t always work completely.  Oh well, it’s so nice to be off Dex ,I think that’s the biggest thing no swinging up and then back down.

Well, off to the day.

 

 

Thursday Budget stuff

IMG_0009Before June budget stuff here’s a picture of Donner Lake.IMG_0014And here’s another. It’s very warm here in Northern California with not a lot of change over the next week. Tomorrow and Saturday are even hotter. So we will need to put in our window air conditioners. This will raise our electric bill but it’s too hot not too use them.

Yesterday’s doctor visit was quite good. We decided not to do a maintenance of every 2 weeks for now. Also, I won’t see him for 2 months but will get monthly labs to see what’s going on.  I’m sure this is a gamble but I think if I have the chance to be drug-free for a short while it will be worth it. I still have 3 Velcade shots so not till July. I’m feeling positive about my decision though. My numbers have never increased radically and hopefully this  will stay the same so future relapse will show it self early on.

Onward to the budget. June is still starting out at a deficit so I will need to transfer a little money to cover a few things. But overall our June budget should show that we need $700 less due to a few things.  I’m hoping the numbers even out by B’s first paycheck of the month. Electric has gone down, but we’re on the balance pay program so it’s balanced based on the year so it’s still at $200. But that should drop once it gets recalibrated.

Also, school money won’t be going out and a few other things will drop too. July will even be better when the Harp refi takes effect ( I hope).  this was of course, a tough decision but with the increased % by October under the previous modification we really don’t have a choice. After much thinking and discussion, the way I have come to see this: we don’t want to move, we will never pay off the mortgage in retirement, so we need to look at getting the mortgage to be an amount that is like a ‘rent’. This refi will do that so I’m pleased with that. When one of us goes to the great beyond then that other person can decide to sell or stay. Unfortunately with my diagnosis, I can’t get life insurance, but many years ago B had me get life insurance ( a small amount ) thru his work. But it would be enough to help. One thing I am concerned about and maybe someone knows the answer to this.. Is when B retires from this company would my life insurance policy just stop? Or would we be able to keep it and keep paying on it?? does anyone know the answer to this?

Well, dinner is crockpot Thursday chicken. Since I’m on dex today, that’s a good thing as I don’t feel much like cooking.

Speaking of cooking, I’m reading the new Ruth Reichel’s book,My Kitchen year  it is so great. I’d highly recommend it.  Of course, I don’t think she would consider crockpot chicken, but then again she’s not on dexamethasone.