The House votes Friday on the current Farm Bill. This version cut or reduce food assistance for an estimated 2 million recipients. This bill imposes stricter work requirements and will highly impact single parents, older folks, and people with disabilities.
Take a few minutes to call your congressperson and ask them to vote NO on HR2 and cuts to SNAP. The Capital switchboard is 202-224-3121 or you can call your reps local office.
I’m including some helpful articles here if you need to familiarize yourself with the issues and talking points. As always, if you’re someone who hates making calls & deals with some anxiety over it, it’s helpful to write yourself a little script of what your going to say. This is a great tip sheet for phone calling with anxiety: How to Call Your Reps When You Have Social Anxieties
I’m trying to make sure we have rent by the end of the week so I was crossing my fingers to be able to do decent meal planning with what the food pantry offered yesterday. No such luck,honestly. Two cabbages and a bag of carrots were the only produce they had. I came away with lots of canned fruit, as much bread as I could take, ground turkey, hot dogs,turkey burger, rice, and some stale “spicy cheese flavored” taco shells. I’m sure I’ll manage some hellacious acts of pantry anarchy with some of it but it’s still disappointing. I think rent will be a little late. We need some grocery basics and gas for the car.
Yeah, that plan of mine to keep money in savings for groceries has not gone well.
On a more uplifting note, there’s a cute little garden happening behind the community center the food pantry is held at. I see rhubarb, oregano, some other herbs.
I have no idea who manages this garden or what it’s used for. My understanding is that once upon a time there was a large garden that served the food pantry but it was at someone’s house and that person has since sold the house and moved out of the area. If I felt like we had any secure permanency in this house, I’d organize a replacement garden on the acres here.
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We survived Stella. Yesterday morning our snow total was 25 inches but it snowed the entire day so I don’t know what we ended up with. School was closed for two days with a two hour delay today.
My 11 year old has been sick the entire week with a horrible cough & cold, including during the Snow Days. Between the Snow Days & a sick kiddo, I’ve gotten zero work done this week and now I think the kiddo has generously shared his germs with me and I’m coming down with it.
The snow storm was also an economical bummer for my daughter who is home from college this week on break. She had lined up a babysitting job while she was home and ended up never working because of the weather. She’s moving into a shared house off campus so she was looking forward to having the extra cash.
A woman hit a deer in front of our house. Law enforcement let us keep it and salvage what we could. There wasn’t a lot that could be rescued but we have at least the front quarters in our freezer now.
I had to take a turkey out of the freezer to make room for the venison, so we had a nice turkey dinner and subsequent leftovers this week.
Last week, my husbeast picked up a roast beef , which I cooked at the beginning of the week in the crockpot and stretched into several meals throughout. I’ve probably mentioned before that meat is not my favorite and I could do without but this worked out well without me feeling like I never want to eat beef again. The key for me is definitely to put it in dishes without making it the dominant thing.
The last food pantry also had a lot to offer, including the biggest cabbage I’ve ever seen. I’m aiming to get at least 4 meals out of it. Will update.
I had one day last week where I was feeling under the weather. The husbeast picked up soup for me at a local restaurant – sweet potato curry. He was sure I would love it because it certainly sounds like something I would like but alas, it was not my favorite. It had great flavor but it was just too much as a soup. The next day I threw it in the crockpot with chicken we had gotten from the food pantry and it was sooo good.
I found this pic of the soup and raw chicken on my ipod . I’m pretty sure I had intended to show the after pic of the cooked chicken over rice. ADHD fail right there.
I have several soups in the freezer that we have gotten from the food pantry over the past few months that we didn’t like. There’s one tomato soup that was like eating chunky pasta sauce. I’ll do a re-do with that.
On a splurgy note, last week was my birthday. We went out to dinner, just the man and me. Que milagro. We went to a pricey local joint but you know, even when I’m basking in the glow of Taxmas, I can’t let myself not be thrifty. We went on a night that they have a special 3 course meal that’s basically the cost of one entree usually. Appetizer,entree,dessert. The food was divine, as was the quiet,uninterrupted dinner.
Things we spent money on during the past 2 weeks:
fixing the car – $1500
rental while car was in the shop- $260 (uhaul pick-up)
spayed one cat, neutered another. Plus vaccinations.-$380
I still need new glasses & I’d like to get started on some of my dental work.
this week’s simple pleasure
Library books. Always central in my life but this week especially, a pile of books was a source of great comfort ,both for intellectual and entertainment value.
song of the day: “Bambi” by Jidenna
I loved this song since the 1st time I heard it a bit ago and this week I’ve found myself humming it to myself.
I’m currently making the list of things to throw money at (the car right now is #1) and formulating a strategy to make the most of all the monies , preferably in such a way that lends to some resemblance of economic stability. I’ll let you know how that turns out. Meh.
My husband is having a hard time managing his diabetes lately. He had to go to diabetic counseling this week and lemme tell you, I am not at all pleased with anything he came out of that appointment with. He handed me all the literature because as the person who cooks the meals, this is now my responsibility.”Give this to your wife”
I remember this well from when my Grandpa had diabetes and it fell on my Grandma to be the person in charge of his illness. One detail diabetic counselors and doctors seem to miss here is that I can plan and cook our meals right but that doesn’t mean he’ll exercise self-control over portion sizes or follow advice on exercise or not basically sneak food when he’s not home.
Are female diabetic patients told to hand over all their dietary instructions to their husbands?
When he was diagnosed years ago, I took it upon myself to research the way he should be eating. I adjusted how we eat accordingly. When things are good financially, I’m able to buy better food. When the grocery budget is scarce, I still do ok but not great as far as making sure it fits what he should eat. He has problems no matter how I cook because *see above last paragraph*
And also,also,also….they suggested not just specific food but products/brands that he should eat. They’re really expensive. Surprise! No, not at all a surprise. Nope.
Healthcare reform should allow food to be covered by your insurance plan, ok? Write that in the replacement.
Other than THAT, everything else is ok. I mean, I still hate winter but besides that.
A few people asked about this picture of forsythia I posted on Instagram last week. Here’s how I did it:
1. Cut forsythia branches.
2. Brought them inside and stuck them in water.
That’s it. Originally when I learned to do this eons ago, I was taught to hammer the ends of the branches before putting them in water but I really don’t know why. This is the third time I’ve “forced” them without hammering and they’ve still bloomed fine.
I think I might go wade through the snow to get some lilac branches this weekend. The touch of Spring does help me deal with the winter blahs a little bit.
Whenever I say I “forced them to bloom” , my husband cracks a 50 Shades of Greener joke. He’s hilarious.
If you spend any amount of time on social media, you see some really cool ideas for DIY projects. Pinterest seems to be that place we all go for inspiration and then end up just feeling bad that we don’t have time, energy, or creativity to be that awesome. For low income and disabled people, the frustration is compounded by the lack of accessibility and ability. Even the cheap projects or ones that use junk often require tools or equipment, and sometimes being able bodied,right?
I have possible solutions,though!
Where to Get Free Tools & Supplies
freecycle or craigslist – Find your nearest group at the respective websites : Freecycle.org and craigslist.com.
On Freecyle, once you join, you can post something like this: “WANTED: Thing You Need” , with a description of what you’re looking for. If it’s a tool you think you’ll only need for one project, you can specify that you only need to borrow something. On craigslist, same thing but you usually have to find a category for what you’re looking for. Both Freecycle and Craigslist are great places for finding materials that someone might have leftover from another project (like, for instance, PVC pipe just waiting to be turned into a hanging indoor window garden ).I often peruse the FREE section of craigslist to see what people are cleaning out of their homes. I just scored an old crib with missing parts — perfect for upcycling as a trellis in my garden.
If you have transportation obstacles, be sure to mention that in your post. Some people will generously drop things off to you or at a location easy for you to meet at. Of course, use your best judgement and common sense when telling strange people you meet on the Internet to come over or meet somewhere. You’re all adults,though. We don’t have to say more than that.
Yard Sales & Thrift Shops – I have a lot of crafting supplies and tools. I would say that 90% of them were purchased at thrift shops,yard sales, rummage sales,etc.Again, transportation is the obstacle here. There are also sometimes when even spending $5 on yard sale finds is out of the budget but if you can, these are the best places to find an amazing assortment of tools & supplies to build your DIY crafting arsenal.
One thing I do to help add a bit of thrifting money is to sell my family’s used clothing at a local consignment shop. The checks I get every other month aren’t huge but it gives me a little extra to set aside specifically for going to sales.
I also have gotten into the habit of going by houses that have advertised a yard sale after the sale has ended. People typically will put a free pile curbside rather than haul it back into their garage or load it into the car to dump off at the Salvation Army.
Local Hardware Stores– By local, I mostly mean locally owned. From my experience, the people who work at small hardware stores are more than happy to drill holes in something for you or cut a piece of wood to your specifications. It’s iffy in a big box hardware store but it never hurts to ask.
Find a Tool Share – There are community groups where people borrow tools from one another and others that have a “library” of tools that they lend to people. These may be tricky to find but I would start with Googling “tool share” and your area. Some communities have had very active tool shares for decades but never brought it to the Internet. If you can’t find anything online, call local carpenters, hardware store,mechanics, bike shops and ask if they know of any tool sharing groups around you.
Sewing Machine Shares– They exist! I’m fortunate to have one here. If there’s one in your area, your local fabric store will most likely know about it.Give them a call.
Where To Find Help With Projects
If you aren’t physically able due to disability or the aches and pains that come with aging to do some parts of a project, here’s some ideas of organizations that might be able to help.
The Girl Scouts – ok, any scouting group but I like the Girl Scouts.
Local Office of the Aging /groups that help the elderly – they often have volunteers with a wide range of interests and skills
Local school shop classes or a vocational school
I am positive there are many more I missed or don’t know about. Please let me know in the comments if you know of any and I’ll add them.