BOOM – Bitter, Blistering, Biting Baltic!

They say the Eskimo people have forty words for snow. It comes in many shapes, textures and forms. We Irish probably have just as many words for rain!

Right now across a very large segment of North America we need to pull out ever word imaginable for COLD in readiness for an Artic Blast descending upon us.

We’ve been warned that records are likely to be broken and that a cold like this has not been experienced by a whole generation.

Some warnings seem funny at first  like avoid breathing deeply and stop talking! They are deadly serious though!

With actual temperatures way way way below freezing and wind chills pushing us to that magic number of -40 where Fahrenheit and Centigrade meet we better listen or get frostbite.

Let’s pray that social services can reach those who live rough on the street and get them into warming shelters. Let’s also give credit and gratitude to all in the emergency services who will brave these temperature to take care of any of us who might need them.

Blessing # 232 – Those on Call

BOOM – Blankets

Jackie, a dear new friend has a very big family. There are so many kids and grandkids that they hire a hall to celebrate Christmas together.

Their Christmas celebration took place last weekend and Jackie had been preparing for this for some time.

Jackie is really great with a crochet hook and had decided to make all 31 members of the family a personal gift. Last week she mentioned she was working hard but wasn’t sure she’d manage to get everything finished in time for the celebration.

Imagining that she might be making everyone a scarf or hat or some such item I was struggling to understand why she was worried about not finishing on time.

This morning I found out why. Jackie had made each one of her family a blanket. Each one is unique and unbelievable beautiful and huge!

What a lot of time and effort was poured into this amazing endeavor and what a great mother she is wrapping her kids and grandkids in such love.

Blessing # 231 – Inspiring Women

BOOM – Budget Day 21

696EA1A0-F3ED-4443-B340-6F08810789BB.jpegOur experiences over the past three weeks coincided with the government shut down in the USA.

Each night the news carried stories of hard working people being forced to go to food banks because they had no pay checks coming in.

We were doing this as an experiment. Many are not in such a fortunate situation.

It brought back memories for Krishna of his childhood when his mother struggled with a tight budget and a growing family.

He said that these past days he sometimes hesitated to take something that he thought Aaron might enjoy like a cookie or cupcake. I wasn’t so gracious! This could explain why Krishna lost three pounds and I lost just two!

Aaron as you might expect rocked the weight loss stakes with a full six pounds off. He says he is feeling really good and he wants us to keep the portion size at the new normal. If we don’t cook for an army then he can’t eat for one!

Tonight we are going to celebrate with plenty of pizza and ice-cream. Hardly an extraordinary extravagance but something we missed. Pizza is crispy and colorful and ice cream is cold and creamy. These contrasts were perhaps the things missed most.

As for going wine free well that was a challenge for a day or two but I just couldn’t believe how much better I slept without it! Cheers to that fruit infused H2O!

Blessing # 230 – Better Understanding

BOOM – Budget Day 20

Today I was at a meeting and Aaron was at work. We both had our breakfast before leaving, I took a sandwich and an orange with me for lunch and Aaron had noodles.

Krishna ate nothing! He said he didn’t want beans or cereal and didn’t want to cook the bits of rice and pasta that were left or the chicken and veggies in the fridge.

We were debating whether to cook tonights and tomorrow’s dinner as two separate meals but creativity is running short so we decided instead to make one big hotch potch. Once it’s done we’re done!

It looks vicious and has thickened  to a consistency that is far from appealing. Standing stirring it is making me feel like one of the witches in Macbeth.

It just as well Krishna ate nothing all day otherwise we might be eating this for days to come!

So to keep both the king of the household and his heir sweet the last three apples are stuffed with sugary stuff to bake and I’ve served myself a drink of ETOH!

Blessing # 229 – One Stop Pot

BOOM – Budget Day 19

This morning I had to take Aaron to school. We took Dibs along for the ride.

Aaron was anxious about his car and how he’ll get around if we can’t get it fixed but he seems even more anxious about Dibley.

First measure of Dibs water intake showed he drank 1.5 liters in 24 hours and his water bowl was completely empty. Seems a lot for a little fellow.

Around 9:00 the garage called to say they had the controller fixed and the car is now starting. They now know what is wrong too it is something to do with mass balance! How ironic is that?

By 11:00 the car was ready to pick up so when Aaron gets out of school he can get his wheels back!

So like the beautiful sky this morning the stars have aligned for the car and for our last weekend on the Budget. Fizz is definitely in the forecast! We hope the Furball will soon be back to his usually sparkling self soon too.

Blessing # 228 – A Bright New Day

BOOM – Budget Day 18

A few unexpected events have come our way this week.

Dibley had his six month senior citizen check up at our wonderful Riverside Animal Hospital on Monday.

We explained to his Doctor that he had been putting on weight. And had slowed down a lot.

Throughout his adult life Dibley had always held a very steady 30 lbs. He seemed to have a built in regulator that precisely adjusted his food intake to match his activity level.

All of a sudden over the past months his love of playing and walking had slipped significantly but his appetite had not, in fact it had increased.

We knew from his last check that his medicine was taking care of his heart murmur and this was not getting worse.

So what was wrong? Why was this slim boy no longer thin? If we are truthful he is starting to resemble a little pot bellied pig.

He’d also been behaving a bit strange recently. Sleeping during the day and then drinking a lot and needing to go potty more often especially at night.

Everything was pointing to some sort of endocrine issue. His little heart rate had slipped from a regular 120 down to 90 and his weight had sored to 37lbs. We decided blood work was called for and we got the results yesterday.

His thyroid hormone levels have dropped, one of his liver enzymes has jumped significantly and his urine is very dilute.

Right now the Doctor has asked us to measure his fluid intake before he makes a firm diagnosis but of course we are googling what it might be and have reached the conclusion our fur baby may have Cushings Syndrome.

Minutes after we got the message from the Vet we got a text from Aaron to say his engine warning light was on.

This morning he took my car to school and I took his car to MIDAS service center. They’ve found that someone pulled three fuses out of the system that controls the built in computer!

The only way to solve and fix the puzzle is wire by wire checks and balances on the control systems. The alternative is to drive with the engine light on until the car breaks down and we find out when it’s too late what’s wrong!

So I have spent the day at MIDAS waiting for the latest updates and now at 4:00 pm with the fuses fixed the car won’t start. So I call Aaron to come get me and he goes to another MIDAS shop.

As I sip on the umteenth MIDAS coffee and wait I’ve had lots of time to ponder the curve balls and uncertainty the budget period has thrown our way and how hard it must be for people on a tight budget to deal with such issues.

No wonder MIDAS has a prominent ad beside the cash resister on instant financing.

8CB6CCDB-DB9B-4608-9A76-2AFE5DDBBF0D.jpeg

We are so much more aware than ever before of how fortunate we are to have the means to deal with the car repair just like we did with the tire two weeks ago!

There is a limit though to what even the greatest riches can fix. Lets hope the problems of our furry family member can be solved with medication and that his control systems can be reset too!

Blessing # 227 – Warning Lights

BOOM – Budget Day 17

We are not big donut eaters maybe one or two a month. For the past week though I’ve been craving these critters something shocking.

Every recipe on the planet for home made donuts has been scanned. Eventually, one using baking soda and sour cream was found.

As we had planned fried chicken and fried rissoles potatoes for dinner why not go the whole hog and fry up some donuts too. Felt like fair food!

Ever last drop of oil was drained from the bottle and the donut dough made. This was more like a batter than a dough as I overestimated the amount of flour we had left.

So the donuts didn’t really have a form. They are more like meteorites than planets but man they taste like heaven.

We have a good stock of them too. Krishna and I just had them for lunch with some of that chocolates milk!

Fun food filed for future feasts!

Blessing # 226 – Cravings Satisfied

BOOM – Budget Day 16

Baking’s been a busy bit of budgeting.

We’ve had a limited number of ingredients to play with which made this very interesting.

Flour, oats, sugar, butter, milk, eggs, salt, all spice and baking soda were all purchased in good amounts when we started.

As we knew and found many recipes called for key ingredients like vanilla, buttermilk, icing sugar and baking powder that we had decided not to buy.

When we got low on butter we had to resort to oil instead and thought vegan recipes might help.

They did to some extent but feature other ingredients that we surely didn’t have like almond butter, coconut oil and soy milk. Helped us see though that vegans need a whole different repertoire of items for the baking business.

We got by by making compromises and very specific recipe searches. Something’s worked out very well others were near disasters.

One thing that we missed was color. Everything had the same beige sort of hue. We needed some accents as a designer would say like a raisin or cranberry or even a little cocoa.

We have discovered some favorites that we will make again like baking soda cupcakes that rose so well. Perhaps the sour cream topping will be better next time and less like bird poop when it has some real icing sugar in it.

Oat meal cookies made with oil were really tasty and would have been very crispy too if we hadn’t added apple as a substitute for raisins. That was definitely not a great idea.

One of the easiest and quickest things we discovered was making tortillas. It really just takes minutes and they turned out just like they should.

The whole experience reinforced how important those baking days really must have been in the past. From simple items like flour and sugar magic happened. Stomachs well filled for sure but more than that joy was given.

Blessing # 225 – Buns and Biscuits

BOOM – Budget Day 15

As we start week three of our budget we took an inventory of what’s left.

In the fruits and veggie department we are OK on fruit but down to the last two onions and spuds and carrots and celery are limited. We still have plenty of cans of beans of various kinds, tomatoes, corn and a handful of frozen peas.

In the protein department the FDA would say we have plenty left Aaron might say otherwise! We have a pound of chicken in the fridge and another in the freezer. Same thing for the ground beef. Eggs are down to five since Aaron had two for his breakfast this morning. The chocolate milk has come out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge. Cheese is in good shape.

Condiments and spreads are plentiful with the exception of sriracha sauce that we may need to ration!

Beverages are all abundant apart from the OJ!

So what will be the limiting factor? Surprisingly it looks like it may be the stomach fillers like pasta, noodles, rice, bread, flour and even oatmeal. Our supplies on these are down to under a quarter of where we started. The most affordable things are the things we didn’t buy enough of.

What were we thinking of? Over stocking on animal protein perhaps?

So now we need to get creative about what to make to stretch the staples and bulk up with beans!

Blessing # 224 – Chili When it’s Chilly

 

BOOM – Budget Day 14

Since the middle of last week we were being warned that snow-maggedon was on the way.

So it was with some trepidation that I set off for Columbus early yesterday. Aaron also had to go to work at 9:30 and Krishna to the Church at 1:00 so we dispersing in different directions.

Throughout the day all three of us kept in touch. NOT A SINGLE FLAKE FELL!

As I drove into the garage at 7:30pm the rain was just starting to switch to the frozen variety. We were all home safe!

The day had been one of indulgence. Aaron did the Japanese proud and I raised the GDP of Mexico about 100 points!

This morning when Dibley and I got up at 6:00 a first glance suggested things looked good for travel. There was only about three inches of the white stuff on the ground! There would be no problem for travel! WRONG!

Our county, along with several others had declared a Level 3 Emergency meaning no travel was allowed. The reason? The temperature -14C / 6F and the wind! Drifting was causing white out and the snow that had fallen was freezing like a skating rink!

So we are all grounded. No meetings, no work and back to budget half a day earlier than planned!

Blessing 223 – Choices Made for You