Friday, December 27, 2013

December In the Craft Room

December has been an interesting month. We celebrated Christmas in a whole different way this year.  We usually have income to buy most of our Christmas presents, but this year, we had to do things a little differently due to decreased funds.  While I've been continuing with my physical therapy, I'm still not able to go back to work. We were approved for some government assistance, we were able to get 54.00 in SNAP assistance.  This makes life interesting to plan our meals.  We received a letter right before Christmas that that amount will decrease to 104.00 as they are somehow not allowing my husband's medical expenses.  I'm planning to appeal that decision, but we'll see where that goes.  Fortunately, we have gotten other assistance besides going to the food pantries.  After the last experience at the mobile food pantry, we were unable to go on there the last time they came to the area.  They are not going to be coming to our area as often as they had been in the new year.  We did go to the other two local food pantries, but I noticed that the amount of meat these pantries are able to give out have decreased significantly.  We will figure out a way to make do.  I'm working on new recipes to use some of the items that we would not normally purchase that have been given to us.  We did get some assistance for Christmas from Community Partners that took me shopping at Aldis on two separate occasions with 100.00 to spend.  That has helped us considerably.  in addition, some secret Santa donated money and our local grocery store delivered approximately 200-250.00 in groceries about 3 weeks ago. The food that they delivered was nice in that they brought a fair amount of meat and even some little extra things that I haven't been purchasing on our severely limited budget.  We also applied for a program for Carolena to have Christmas presents called the Reindear program, and they provided her with a digital Barbie, several outfits, a couple of pairs of pajamas, a pair of shoes and a pair of snow boots.  In addition, the local fund provided us with a large box of canned goods and a 30.00 gift certificate for our local grocery store to purchase meat.  These donations, helped to restock my severely depleted stores of food.

For the items that I gave for Christmas this year, we only gave gifts to our children and grandchildren.  My children received some of my home canned foods, such as apple butter, strawberry preserves, and blueberry butter, along with some canned apple pie filling, turkey broth and canned turkey.  I also made up some spice mixes for them. I worked on cookbooks for the boys, but my printer decided not to work when I was ready to print, so I have to print those cookbook pages out and put together the cookbooks.  For the grandchildren, we shopped at places like Goodwill this year.  We were able to get a walking dragon and some trucks for Derrick.  Carolena got some movies from Goodwill and they both got a suitcase of clothes for dress up play.  After everything was opened, both kids played first with their suitcase of dress up clothes.  Some of these clothes I purchased at Goodwill and out mission outlet thrift store, and others I got at a local clothes closet, that give out clothing.  I had a couple of projects that I wanted to get done for the kids, that didn't get finished up, but I will finish those up here in the next couple of weeks anyway.  I just gave them as they were for the time being.  Carolena will enjoy helping me to remake some of the things to play with. Overall, I spent very little money on Christmas presents.  Although, with the added driving we have had to do, this will be an interesting week as we are down to nearly no money left until Jim's disability check hits the bank on the first of January.  Our activities will be severely limited, but we will manage.  I will post some of the before and after pictures of our projects as we complete them.  This next week I will be writing out goals for the new year.  These goals will be interesting.

I also started working on classes for my Master's program.  I decided that I needed to do that in order to have a chance at getting a job teaching.  So, to add to the busyness of the holiday season, I started classes on December 2nd. This didn't help me with getting everything I needed to do for the holidays done, but I felt it was necessary to help with having an income again. 

This next week, I will be posting information on my next menu plan along with recipes and I will be doing a post on goal setting.  Every year, I set goals in various areas of my life.  I try and look at the different areas of my life and set goals, which I also break down into smaller steps to make them less overwhelming when I'm trying work towards those goals.  I'll post how I go about that process and set up rewards along the way to help me achieve those goals.  I'll post some pictures of our Christmas.  I'll also be posting some pictures of how the house is coming along.  Jim and I spent the day of our anniversary window shopping for colors for our bedroom/bathroom suite.  We are trying to make a small retreat for ourselves so that we have a nice relaxing place to spend time.  The drywall is mostly up in our bedroom, and we are the stage of mudding and taping.  Soon to be followed by painting.  We have also looked at ideas for flooring and think we will be trying a new technique  for flooring, that will be much less expensive than the hardwood flooring we would like in their.  If it works and we like it we will be using it in other areas.  If not, it will at least have the floor mostly prepped for putting the hardwood flooring down at a later time when our finances improve.  We picked out the colors we want and were given a comforter with those colors for Christmas.  So, I'm ready to start painting and move in.  I'll be putting together pictures to post here soon of our space.

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