Wednesday, December 20, 2017

This Week...Beyond Money 11/25 - 12/17

For me, a life beyond money is making choices so that you can live the best possible life, regardless of your income level. Obviously, you have to make a living, but there are many ways to improve your quality of life without increasing your income levels and correspondingly your expenses. This regular post will be some of the ways that we improve our quality of life beyond just trying to make more money.
* I bought three houseplants when we stopped at Meijer for something else. I recently joined a houseplant hobbiest group on FB and they are bad influences. I got an Ingrid Ivy, Dragon's Tongue and angel wing begonia (It was not labelled, but someone from the group IDed for me) for $2.99/each. I am really enjoying this hobby. Given my time constraints these days, it is hard to find time for any pleasurable pastimes. This takes relatively little time each day, but I have a lot of fun with it. Plus, it is a great air purifier!
* The lavender plant appeared to be dying, but when I inspected it today, there were some tiny new shoots. Glad I didn't jump the gun and dump it.
* I put some more pothos clippings in water to root. I want to have more beautiful plants all around the house.
I love this little plant I found in a coffee shop.
I can't wait to find a fun bottle to try it myself.
* I hit the Lowe's clearance rack. Oh. My. Goodness. It is amazing. I got 3 begonias ($1 each), a croton ($1), a dracnea ($3) and a fern ($3). It is so exciting! Trucker got a Venus Fly Trap. It wasn't on clearance, but it was only $5. I think it is a small price to pay to get him on board with my jungle. He isn't into botany like I am, but is very supportive of me. I do so want him to get bitten by the gardening bug so he goes buck-wild with me when we garden at the next place.

* We have relied on quick and easy meals: spaghetti with sausage and tomato sauce, soup from the freezer, deli meat sandwiches, baked potatoes.
* Trucker brought me breakfast in bed one morning. He woke me up with a glass of juice and freshly brewed coffee (He always tries to plan his consumption so a fresh pot is ready when I wake up). Then he brought up his wonderful french toast with eggs and banana. We sat in bed and talked while we enjoyed our feast. He is so kind and thoughtful.
* We made homemade taco hamburger helper. I sauteed onions and peppers (peppers were already chopped in the freezer), then added hamburger (leftover from the freezer). I made a cheese sauce using cheddar cheese powder, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and the last of a container of chipotle cheddar dip we had leftover. I also added the last of a bag of shredded cheese. I mixed in half a can of refried beans. I mixed all this together with 3/4 lb macaroni. This was incredibly filling with the addition of the beans and lasted for several meals. For those wondering, you couldn't tell there were beans in the mix, except that a small portion was insanely filling.
This piece was done entirely with a palette knife. No brush!
* I pulled a large container of taco soup out of the freezer. It was enough for 4 meals that were quick heat-and-eat affairs. For the last bowl, it wasn't quite enough for a meal, so I added some crumbled tortilla chips from the bottom of the bag.
* We made Trucker's taco dip (In hindsight, it does appear we eat nothing but taco-inspired dishes). We had a layer of refried beans, then sour cream and cream cheese, lettuce, peppers, onions, cheddar cheese and black olives. We had it with tortilla chips while we watched a movie. There were enough leftovers for a few more meals.
* We bought a container of crab dip/spread on manager's special for $1.30. We used that to make several sandwiches. It was very flavorful and satisfying.
This piece we saw at the gallery hop is far
beyond my skill level, but was so inspirational.
* We found a manager's special on ice cream. It was PB&J ice cream in back-to-school packaging, so they were clearing it out. It was $1/half gallon. When I was young, I used to get a scoop of vanilla ice cream, add a huge dollop of peanut butter and a spoonful of jelly for what I considered to be the most decadent dessert ever. I had completely forgotten about that until I tried this ice cream.

* We walked at the mall one day when it was too cold to walk outside.  We had a good time laughing at weird fashion.
* We went to the gallery hop. It was magical as always. We got Thai food beforehand using a Groupon. There was a show of scratchboard pieces. I used to scratchboard years ago. Trucker encouraged me to try again. Later that week I made a couple of simple pieces. Two of them were of horses. My work friend recently got a horse so I gave them to her as a celebratory gift.
* Trucker planned an amazing date for us. We have had a crazy few weeks and hadn't really had much time together to connect. He found a free craft class at the Urban Art Space. We made mobiles. Trucker made a phone. A mobile phone. I adore him. After that, we went out for coffee and reading. We brought travel mugs so our coffee was only $3.50. Trucker said that there was a Greek restaurant near his agent's office and every time he drives by he thinks he needs to take me there. We were right down the road and when I checked my coupon app, we had a BOGO coupon. We got giant gyros and an order of fries to split. By then it was dark, so we went to a local park downtown along the river for their lights show. We got a couple miles walking in and enjoyed the jazz music playing from the speakers. It was an amazing date and all in cost $15.
* I did a little drawing and found that it is not like riding a bicycle. I won't give up though!

* I got my insurance packet for the new year. Now that they updated my completion of our wellness program, the cost is actually lower than I was initially told. We will pay $9.50/week ($494/yr) for all insurance needs (health, life, short and long-term disability, AD&D, vision, dental, etc).
* I noticed that the life insurance policy was pending approval for Trucker. I called and they are supposed to send me the forms to fill out.

House and Home:
* I bought a bed, finally. We have never found a good bed at a good price, so we have just had a mattress and box springs on the floor. I found a local woodworker selling beautiful pallet beds for $170 for a full. It is a little rough, but has potential. I'll need to send it down, apply fungicide (just in case), stain and seal it. It will take some work, but even with the supplies it will cost around $190. They said that the pallets aren't chemically treated, but just in case, I let it off-gas in a well-ventilated part of the house for a couple of weeks with windows and doors open and exhaust fan on whenever possible. I will add a couple layers of polyurethane. I think that should take care of any issues.
* We rearranged our bedroom to accommodate the bed and get a fresh feel.

* My job gave us a pizza party one day to celebrate a quality achievement. We got a slice of pizza, a soda or water and a cookie.
The city looks magical at night when the moon
is full. Even on chilly nights, the gallery hop
never fails to revive my spirits. Thankfully, it
happens every month!
* Another day they had the annual holiday meal. We got turkey and cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, steamed carrots, roll and pecan or pumpkin pie with a soda or water.
* I've been working some overtime.
* Trucker's boss bought them pizza for lunch a couple times.
* Awhile back, I signed up to donate to a local homeless shelter directly through my paycheck during our United Way drive. I was able to select a shelter near where we live. They gave us a punch card for a free drink each month at the cafeteria. I have used that for days that I get to work super early and read in the cafeteria. Each time I do this instead of stopping at a coffee house, I save $1.70.

* Trucker is in another film. This is a local one. He got cast as a cop, but when he got to filming, they also had him put a ski mask on and do a robbery scene. The next day the director called him and said he did amazing and asked if he could come in for a second day of filming. He got to do a few roles and several scenes.

* I got free preventative exams.
* We switched to 90 day refills on our prescriptions to save $80-100/year.
* I had a minor procedure done. I'm in a little pain, but it will be fine in a couple days. I feel very fortunate because after insurance and my employer-sponsored health fund, I didn't have to pay anything out of pocket for a procedure that would have cost over $600 without insurance. After having lived so long without insurance, I am thankful every time I can get quality health care instead of having to struggle through home remedies. While I still certainly aim to stay healthy and use some home remedies, there are certain things that aren't practical or best to diy. For example, I once super glued a finger tip back on. It worked out okay and I have no bad numbness or tingling in it, but would prefer to never have to do that again.

This lovely picture stand
cost a whopping $3!
* I took my sister out thrifting for her wedding. We found about $300 worth of decorative items for $35. We also stopped at our booth and we gave her a few items that hadn't sold (a cake stand, compote and cloche). I was so excited to be able to help her with it. We stopped back at the house and I made soup and grilled sandwiches for a really cheap lunch. I tried to expose her to some sauteed cabbage but she wasn't digging it. It worked out wonderfully for both of us. She was able to save a ton of money while still getting a pretty wedding and it was so reviving to feel needed and like I was valued.
* Daisy offered to let my sister borrow some of the decorations from her wedding. She is so kind and I am very thankful for her.
* We got a new guy in my area. He mentioned that he wanted to catch a ball game, but it was pricey. I ran over to the cabinet where I had left the Entertainment book for coworkers to browse. I showed him a whole page of coupons for sporting events and told him to take whatever he wanted.
* I had a scary doctor's appointment and was really nervous leading up to it. Trucker came with me to the appointment and afterwards, when I tried to turn left to walk back to the car, he turned me right. He said that a donut would make everything better. We went to a local treasure that makes an epic Buckeye donut (yeast donut with chocolate icing and peanut butter). For just $2.50, we had a nice mini-date that made me feel cherished and distracted me a bit. (For the record, all is well, so I can go back to not worrying).
How was your week?

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