Thursday, November 8, 2012

I am going to be making some changes to Frugal Midwest Mom.  The site and name will remain the same, but what I write about is going to be a little different.

Since being diagnosed with cancer in the Spring, my priorities have made a major shift.  My goal was always to save as much money as possible.  While that goal is still important to me, I realize that my goal is not always in the best interest of my family, community and myself.  A cancer diagnosis is a life changing event.  I have spent the last 6 months reading everything I can get my hands on in regards to cancer prevention, holistic healthcare, exercise, stress reduction, etc......

Frugal Midwest Mom is going to now focus on the things I am doing to improve my health and well being.  This will include organic foods, recipes, stress reduction, sustainable living, local shopping and anything and everything that I can do to make my life that much healthier and happier.  We only get one chance to do things right.  I had a wake up call that I plan on taking very seriously.

I am willing, ready and able to take any advice from readers regarding health.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Boy has it been hot around here!  I am so excited for that first crisp fall morning.  It will be a welcome change from the oppressive heat that has been everywhere.  Of course, with the heat, came the need to use the air conditioning even more.  This month, our energy bill went up $100!  I wasn't expecting that kind of increase.  We also have to pay school registration fees for 3 kids, one who is starting high school.  My son is also having braces put on next week.  Ughh!  I guess I better start saving even more.

This week I saved quite a bit.  Here is a list of the things I did this week help us out.

1.  We had a $57 Costco rebate.  I used it without spending much over the $57 and chose to wait until we need to go to Costco again to renew the membership.

2.  My youngest is in a reading program at Barnes and Noble.  Read 8 books, get a free book.  Today we were able to pick out a book for her to enjoy.

3.  On a very hot and boring day, my youngest and I took in a movie.  We used 2 more vouchers, while it was not free, it felt like it.

4.  My husband's birthday was last night.  Usually we go out for dinner, always spending so much more than we plan on.  This year he chose to stay home instead, grill a tenderloin along with CSA vegetables.  We had smores for dessert and enjoyed some family time.  We saved on bundle by having drinks at home instead of the drinks we would have bought at a restaurant.

5.  There are 2 things I love, Autumn and the Autumn scented candles that make the season even better.  I had a $10 off coupon for Yankee Candle.  I allowed myself the treat of an apple scented candle with my coupon and resisted the urge to buy all the REALLY cute Halloween decorations they have out.

6.  Clipped coupons and saved $15.00 with double coupons at the grocery store.

7.  Chopped and froze several green peppers for the fall and winter.  Looking forward to making some yummy chili.

8.  The kids used the neighbors pool several days again this week to help cool off and entertain themselves.  I did buy them a gift card as a thank you for the limitless use of the pool.  A very small price to pay for the savings on gas and admission.

9.  We had several meatless meals.  Meatless Monday is starting to really take hold in this house.  My 14 year old son, who spends hours a day at soccer practice is starting to really resent meatless nights.  So, I may need to rethink it.  Some days he is spending 4-5 hours doing hardcore training, he needs the protein.

10.  Took advantage of several buy one get one free sales.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


To begin, the RAI worked.  I knew that awhile ago, but have not been blogging.  Thyroid cancer has a 30% recurrence rate, so every year will be a bit nerve wracking when I have mu body scan.  But, for the time being, I am in the clear.

This summer is quickly flying by!  We are doing next to nothing, but given the first 6 months of 2012, the next 6 months need be filled with nothing.

I am forever on my quest to save a few dollars.  Here is a list of the things we did this week to save, save, save...............

1.  Our grocery store has double coupon day on Saturdays, first 10 up to $1.00.  Today I saved $20.00 with coupons.  My best deal, a box of K-Cups on sale for $2.99, plus $2.00 off.

2.  Jimmy Johns had customer appreciation day on Thursday.  Subs were $1.00 each.  I took the kids out for lunch that day.

3. The dealership we bought our car from sponsors a local concert in the park series.  For the last concert, customers were invited to the FREE concert and we received dinner and drinks.  Entertainment and dinner all for free.

4.  In the past I would take the kids to the local pool and pay to get in.  For years I was reluctant to accept our neighbors invitation to let my kids swim in his pool anytime.  No more, this summer, the kids have gone swimming everyday for free.

5.  We joined a CSA at the beginning of the summer.  We are using everything this year, even the gigantic salad turnips that we all hate.  No waste this summer.

6.  I am filling up my car once a week, on Mondays only.  If I am running low, we stay home.

7.  As always, paid of the credit cards to avoid interest charges.

8.  Washed all laundry in cold water.

9.  Several months ago I bought a book of movie vouchers cheap.  I used one last weekend to see a movie, by myself.  The tickets were paid for months ago, so it felt like it was a free movie.

10.  This is a non essential expense, but I can't give up massages.  I have terrible sciatica, massages work better than pain killers.  I signed up for a monthly membership at Massage Envy.  $49 for a massage which is $50 less than I pay now.  Savings of $50/month.

I need to be better about charting our savings progress each week.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Today I take a pill that is meant to kill any remaining cancer cells in my body.  I am a bit nervous and very sad.  My children need to leave the house for a few days, as I will become radioactive.  This brings me to my point.  How is it safe for me to ingest a pill that has enough radiation in it that others can't be near me?  It seems crazy!  I am optimistic that everything will go as planned and that in a week, when I have a final body scan, any existing cancer cells will be gone.  So, here is to one more week of insanity.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Since getting sick 2 months ago, I have learned to rely on the kindness of my friends and family to help my family out.  I have been a bit remiss in getting proper thank you notes out in the mail, which I will.  But for now, I feel like everyone who has helped deserves a shout out from a very grateful family.

Thank you to the countless friends who have brought over meal after meal.  Some bringing multiple meals.  Being on the low iodine diet presents challenges to cooking, I have friends who embraced that challenge and brought delicious food we could all eat.  Thank you to the Lex, Sciortino, Christ, Magoon and Banda families!  Everything was so delicious and so appreciated.  A great big thank you to my mom who left us with her famous Potato Leek Soup (Maeghan's favorite). Thank you to my mother in law, Karen Schley for the Chicken Enchillada Casseroles that she know Eric loves.  Thank you to my sister in law Amy for knowing that the one thing in life that will always make Eric happy is knowing that the freezer has an adequate number of frozen pizzas.  You made his day Amy!

Thank you to the countless friends who have driven my kids to their never ending rotation of activities.  My son's soccer schedule alone is enough to make someone's head spin.  The Schneider Family proved to be a God send in the arena.  Thank you so much Patti for all the driving you have done for us.  Thank you Krista Nelson for always being able to drive Maeghan to every Girl Scout activity I was too tired to take her to.  Thank you Susan Campbell for saving the day on a huge assignment for Hannah!  She got an A on it by the way!

Thank you to all the friends who have stepped forward now to drive me around.  Yesterday's news that I am much further into hypothyroidism than they would prefer felt like a step back.  It takes everything I have to get out of bed and the muscle and joint pain is unbearable at this point.  Driving is no longer an option for me.  But, so many friends have already stepped forward to drive me around.  I have a body scan today that will detect cancer that got away.  My husband who has already missed so much work just couldn't swing it today, but my dear friend Amy was ready, willing and able to get the job done.  Thank you.

An early thank you to the Schneider and Christ families who will be taking care of my kids when I go into isolation next week.  It means the world to me that I know my kids will be having a great time with friends.  This is all hard enough without having to worry about that my kids are sad, scared and God forbid bored.  Thank you!

Thank you Palmer, Lex and Ullrich families for already stepping forward and taking Maeghan for play dates in a few weeks so that I can get through final recovery from my RAI.  It may not seem like much, but it really is to us.  To know that she has someplace to go everyday means that it is one less thing for me to worry about.

Thank you to my mother, Linda Bartlett, for taking a week out of her busy schedule to stay with us.  Make us meals, drive the kids around, take care of me and be the support we all needed when I got out of surgery.

Thank you to all my friends who have given me much need support.  A shoulder to cry on when I found out I was sick and someone to be grateful with when I realized that this IS curable.   I am so very lucky that I got a cancer that has a cure!  What a relief.  But with that, I still have days of fear and doubt.  Days when the treatment is still very hard to deal with.  Knowing that it could still come back will always be in the back of my mind.

Thank you to a never ending stream of friends who brought over lunches that we could enjoy together before this damn low iodine diet started!  Lisa Pochmara, the first meal I am getting when I have the go ahead to eat what I want is that Culvers Pub Burger and fries.  Eric is already on stand by.

Thank you Amy Bernstrom for taking over my business when you knew that I needed the time away to recover, I will forever be grateful.

Thank you to any friends or family that I did not mean to miss!  Your emails, cards, text messages, plants and phone calls have meant the world to me.

Finally, thank you to my very supportive and fantastic husband Eric.  It has been quite a year.  We thought that when I had a little gall bladder surgery that would be the end.  But, as life proves over and over again, there is always something else waiting.  I have been grateful for that gall bladder attack many times, as that is what  found this.  But, I digress.  Thank you Eric for being patient with me.  Being the full time parent for several weeks (excluding those couple weeks between surgery and being taken off my meds) to 3 great kids!  Thank you for missing more work than anyone should have to just to drive.  Thank you for continuing to coach your daughter's soccer team, help your son get through Algebra and continue to be Hannah's IT department.  But most importantly, on this day, thank you for baking me homemade bread that is low iodine.  That act alone, scores a lot of points for you:)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bucket List

I have been all gloom and doom lately.  So much so that I failed to mention that 2 short weeks ago I was able to mark something off of my ever expanding bucket list.  I saw Van Halen in concert with David Lee Roth.  That happened to be on my list for years, and I did it!

As we go into summer, I am going to sit down and do a real bucket list.  All those things that I want to do before I kick the bucket.  No, my cancer diagnosis is not the inspiration for this.  I have always had an informal, ongoing list of things that I want to do before I go.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm So Tired

In order for the RAI to really work I have to go into a state of hypothyroidism.  When I was given this news, I thought, oh well, so 4 weeks will be tired.  Small price to pay for a cure.  I take that back!  I am into week 2 of not having a thyroid while not taking any supplementation for that missing thyroid.  I am in hell!  I have never, not ever felt this way before. I am tired, but can't sleep at night.  My muscles ache, I am depressed, I am gaining weight, I am cold, I am pissed!

I am too tired to get out of bed to walk my daughter to the bus in the morning, finite days that she wants to be with me are slipping away.  I spent Memorial Day weekend in the a daze, trying to be normal for everyone's benefit because I feel guilty if I don't.  I lay in bed at night with my legs twitching because i suddenly have restless leg syndrome.  I wake up every hour, on the hour for some unknown reason.  I thought I was at least going to catch up on some sleep during this.  I am wallowing in self pity, which makes me angry at myself, because I am lucky to have a cancer with a cure.  I should be happy, but I am not happy.

I want my life back.  I want my thyroid back.  I want my job back.