Wednesday, December 25, 2013

ObamaCare and my budget!

Just when I think I have my budget figured out.... life happens!

I received news this week that I must apply for Covered California (ObamaCare) before I can reapply for my current county insurance. Gulp! I decided to call so I could talk to a representative. Long story short is that I cannot stay with my current health care plan which had a very good plan. After a lot of prayer, investigating and talking with several insurance specialists I decided (with fear and trepidation) on a plan through Kaiser. It will cost $1 a month with a $5,000 deductible, 3 office visits a year at $60 a visit and no help with prescriptions. It's not a good plan but it's what I could afford now. Thankfully I don't have any medical issues and I'm not using prescriptions.

We had a good crop of broccoli!

No sence whining about it. It is what it is. Our family could not afford any kind of insurance when our children were growing up. God blessed us with good health during those years. While the insurance plan I've chosen is terrible in comparison to the one I had previously, it's 100% better than having nothing. I will choose to be thankful and work harder on keeping healthy.  God has always taken good care of us.


I finally conquered my Christmas preparations so I was able to get back to my frugal ways this week. *wink* 

1. We've had nearly 2 weeks of 30 degree weather. I decided to buy some Long John's to wear under our clothes and night clothes instead of turning up the heat. Okay, well we did turn up the heat once. :-) I'm finding that wearing several layers of clothes is a big key to keeping warm in an old house. 

2.  I saved the packages the Long John's came in. I cut them open and used the inside instead of Seran wrap to let the Mounds Balls dry. 

This is the first time I've grown swiss chard. I've used it in our eggs and soups. 

3.  I found some adorable Christmas ornaments I want to make for gifts next year. It's never too early to plan. Take a peek. Aren't they adorable? I hope to start in January.

Names of Christ Ornaments

4. I have an 8 year supply of discounted Christmas wrappings that has slowly been dwindling.  I hope to hit the dollar stores the day after Christmas when the wrappings, tissue paper and gift bags are half off @ .50! I did find some tissue paper for .50 each this week.

5.  What I didn't throw away this week:
  • Celery and carrot peels (homemade dog food)
  • Broth from baked chicken (homemade soup)
  • Envelope (to store vegetable seeds)
  • Bubble packaging (to use for future packaging)
  • Sandwich baggie (washed/dried to resuse)
  • Rubber bands (radishes)
  • Cake mix plastic bag (washed and used as a baggie)
  • Bread flour bag (I cut it open and will reuse it as packaging to ship small gifts)
  • Bacon grease (I put it in a small container to use instead of oil to scramble eggs). 
6. I cut back on sending Christmas cards this year. The pennies will only stretch so far. I also didn't do all my normal baking, either.  I can't believe how much baking ingredients have increased plus it's a big temptation to have sweets in the house. I know that staying away from sugar plays a big role in keeping healthy.

Butter lettuce, spinach, curled leaf and several other lettuces to be harvested in February. 

7.  Ham's are on sale this month so I've bought a couple to freeze because it's cheap meat at .99 a pound. The butcher told me that the shank does not have as much meat as the butt so I paid $1.29 a pound for one of them. Still a great deal!

8. I've been keeping a pot of soup in the fridge for lunches but hubby occasionally wants a sandwich so I made a couple loaves of wheat bread.

9.  I've been saving meat scraps, bones and vegetable scraps for a month to make dog food. It really helps to stretch the dog food and it doesn't cost me a thing because I make it from food that would normally be thrown away.

10. This is a trick that saves time more than money. I use Seran wrap (or a recycle bag) to line a measuring cup when using Crisco. Once I measure it I can throw away the Seran wrap and the cup is still clean.

I hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas this year! We have so much to be thankful for because  of the greatest gift ever given.... Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world, that he GAVE his only Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in him should not perish BUT have eternal life.   John 3:16 ESV

Blessed by His grace,


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

That You May Believe


 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. —John 20: 30– 31

 I feel so strongly that among those of us who have grown up in church and who can recite the great doctrines of our faith in our sleep and who yawn through the Apostles Creed— that among us something must be done to help us once more feel the awe, the fear, the astonishment, the wonder of the Son of God, begotten by the Father from all eternity, reflecting all the glory of God, being the very image of his person, through whom all things were created, upholding the universe by the word of his power. You can read every fairy tale that was ever written, every mystery thriller, every ghost story, and you will never find anything so shocking, so strange, so weird and so spellbinding as the story of the incarnation of the Son of God. How dead we are! How callous and unfeeling to his glory and his story! How often have I had to repent and say, “God, I am sorry that the stories men have made up stir my emotions, my awe and wonder and admiration and joy, more than your own true story.”

 The space thrillers of our day, like Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, can do this great good for us: they can humble us and bring us to repentance, by showing us that we really are capable of some of the wonder and awe and amazement that we so seldom feel when we contemplate the eternal God and the cosmic Christ and a real living contact between them and us in Jesus of Nazareth. When Jesus said, “For this I have come into the world,” he said something as crazy and weird and strange and eerie as any statement in science fiction that you have ever read (John 18: 37). O, how I pray for a breaking forth of the Spirit of God upon me and upon you.

 I pray for the Holy Spirit to break into my experience in a frightening way, to wake me up to the unimaginable reality of God. One of these days lightning is going to fill the sky from the rising of the sun to its setting, and there is going to appear in the clouds one like a son of man with his mighty angels in flaming fire. And we will see him clearly. And whether from terror or sheer excitement, we will tremble and we will wonder how, how we ever lived so long with such a domesticated, harmless Christ. These things are written that you might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came into the world. Really believe.

John Piper. Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent (Kindle Locations 606-613). Desiring God.

(Picture: Permission granted from