Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Todays vacation preparations and sinus infections

Well since we know we are going on a camping vacation soon, I am trying to do a little prep each day so in the days leading up to going I am not quite so swamped. One of our favorite breakfasts while camping is pancakes, because it is fast and easy to make them on the big griddle to my big gas camping stove. I even use that stove sometimes at home! Since Beloved wanted pancakes for dinner tonight (he is such a breakfast man!), I decided to make up a huge batch of my favorite mix since I was low anyway. I foodsavered it in batches for camping and printed labels to put on so all I have to measure is the oil and water. I used to buy premade pancake mix, but this is just to easy and yummy to do that anymore and so much cheaper. I will have to make up some more before we go as I am almost out of flour and will not be going to do my shopping until Friday. I will share my favorite recipe at the end of my post today. It is from the More-with-Less cookbook. It is one of my favorite cookbooks ever.

My sinuses are really bad today, and I fear I am getting a sinus infection. If I don't feel better by tomorrow, I will have to go to the doctor. Not what I want to spend money on right now, but they make me so miserable I am not sure I have any better ideas. I did read on another blog about vinegar being a good medicine but don't know much about that, perhaps I need to research that some more. I am always looking for a good natural remedy when I can find one that works. I have nothing against Doctors at all, except for waiting to get in, and the expense that I love to save on if I can.

Beloved has been such a help while he is home. Just today, he helped me some in the kitchen and let me tell you that is his least favorite chore of all. But he is trying so hard to step right up while he is home. I am trying hard to let him know how much I love the help. Not that I would ask him to do all the things he has done, but when he just gets up and starts doing the things, I am not going to tell him to quit!

Here is the promised Pancake Mix recipe from the More-With-less cookbook. This recipe makes four pounds.

12 Cups Flour
2 T Salt
3/4 Cup Baking Powder
3/4 Cup Sugar
4 Cups Powdered Milk
Mix well and store in airtight container.

When ready to mix add
1 Egg beat with fork
1 Cup Water
2 T fat or oil
1 1/2 cups Pancake Mix.

So good and quick and cheap it seems almost sinnful!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another hot busy day

Well since beloved has officially lost his job, today being his last day, it is time to tighten the belt even more. Not easy when you are already tightly frugal. But it can be done. So since we are hoping for a two week camping trip, I am looking for ways to make it cheaper. So today I hit the manager markdown in the meat department. I canned stew meat, so leftover ham I had and 10 quarts of chili. I have been canning all day (it is almost midnight here) and boy am I hot!!! But having canned meat will mean less ice on our camping trip, and I can tell you from experience that ice adds up. We have decided though since we will have electric this time, we will be taking our baby fridge and our plug in cooler to keep in our tent. That will help use less ice as well. Heck, if I am smart enough maybe I can find a way to need ice only for our drinks! Wouldn't that be awesome. I would sure take any ideas from readers.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

well it is official

Beloved's last day of work is tomorrow. We had six months warning, and we have been working very hard to prepare we have paid off my car, paying off the dentist this week, things like that. We only owe on his truck, and were going to get that paid off very soon but with the job loss, we will keep making the normal payment for now. Luckily that is our only debt. And we hope to never take out any more debt ever again. We try to keep our normal household bills as low as possible. He will get unemployment, but as usually it isn't much! Luckily we live simply and frugally enough, that I think we will make it with no real problems, but with no extras either.

One the upside I would like to share with everyone that my favorite couponing site, the Grocery Game is now offering a free trial. It used to be only $1 for four weeks, and trust me it was worth every penny of it, but now the first four weeks are free. Their list has saved me so much money on my grocery bill it isn't even funny. And, it helped me pay off my car in two years instead of four! If you use any coupons at all, and don't mind getting name brand items for less money than store brands, and lots of times even free check them out!

Zach has finished his first week at the Community College (really the way he scheduled it so he could work full time he has three classes (10 credit hours) on two days a week. So far he isn't complaining any about to much work! Erica is in Vacation Bible School this week. She is really enjoying it, and will be taking food for less fortunate people in our town today to donate. So glad that we can still teach her to share even though Beloved is losing his job. God has really blessed us!

We are of course eating very frugal meals now, and I wanted to share how half a ham is feeding us most of the week! On Tuesday, we had ham and great northern beans. On Wednesday we had the leftover beans with rice, homemade tortillas and lettuce and green onions from the garden. Tonight (Thursday) we are having scalloped potatoes (almost free Betty Crocker ones with coupons) with ham casserole, a salad from the garden and corn from the freezer. Tomorrow night, I will be making a breakfast casserole or omelets with ham. Then on Saturday night, with the ham bone I will make pinto beans with ham and cornbread! I paid less around $8 per half ham and bought several when on sale. I just had the butcher chop them in half for me. So I think that five dinners on $8 of meat is great! I plan to defrost a turkey soon and we can have several meals of that as well.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Another hot, humid day in Ohio

And I finally broke down and turned on the AC last night. I just couldn't wait another day. Makes me really feel for those who don't have it and those before us who didn't. I went without one for several years when Zach was a baby, and I survived, but it sure is easier to sleep at night with it.

Beloved gets another week of work and we are very happy about it. He is still under his five day notice, but another week of pay is another week of pay! We are trying so hard to live even more frugally in these tough times, but when you have always been frugal you have to look harder for more places to cut back! I am trying to hold the faith that we will be fine. I bought a pressure cooker yesterday so I can use it to can more foods. I can't wait to learn some new skills with it. My mother and grandmother and aunt used to can a lot, but I always had to snap the beans and I tried to hide away as much as I could. I wish I had paid more attention. I am now doing internet research to try to soak up all this new knowledge I can find.

The garden is doing very well and we have been eating a lot of salads from the garden. We will have another salad tonight, and some broccoli. The zucchini is blooming nicely, and I hope to have lots of it soon.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Beloved got his five day notice

He came home and told me about it yesterday. So after this week, he will no longer have a job. scary stuff, but we have known it was coming and been preparing for it. Hopefully we have done well enough that it won't be to hard. We could sure use prayers though.

On the mother scene, things have been busy. Yesterday I took Erica strawberry picking. She had thought it would be all kinds of fun, but she has decided it is work! All except for a few of them, we have them sliced and in the dehydrator right now to use later in oatmeal and such. Just another one of those frugal things so many of us do! She has not done any worksheets for a few days, and we will get back on them today, but we have been doing other things such as the strawberries, because not everything can be learned in a book!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Getting the budget ready

Well I have decided to get off my duff and quit being scared about DH's coming layoff and mentally prepare for it. I am using Dave Ramsey's principals to do it. Oddly enough, although things will be tight, very tight, I think we will make it at least for several months. Yes, we will have to be very careful about our money but with our garden growing nicely, that will help alot. There will not be any room for extras really, but we will manage. I am still a bit worried about things, but I feel a little better knowing that I am taking action and God is on my side. The good news is that the dental bills that we have been paying on for three years will be paid off this month! I am so excited about that. The timing couldn't be better really. I am reading Dave Ramsey's book Total Money Makeover. Really he is just telling us to do all the things we know we should be doing, but alot of us are not! I do feel better as I get this worked out though. And I am very happy that we are not in tons of debt. If we were that would make it so hard. Right now our only debt is the dental bill being paid off this month, and beloved's truck. I hope to pay that off early as well. I managed to pay my car off two years early and once we get beloved's truck paid off, I plan to never finance another vehicle again! I really hope we can stick to that!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Beloved has started using his vacation days

Since they tax him so horribly if he sells them back when he gets laid off, he is using them now for an extra weekend day. It has been so wonderful having him home an extra day. We have gotten so much done this weekend, and he doesn't go back to work until tomorrow. We got alot of little house chores done, some things done in the garden and even had time for a picnic in the park. I hope he knows how very much I enjoy this time, I guess I should just tell him. I love him so much, and he just doesn't know that I don't think. Today I am going to see if our pool is offering swimming lessons this year. We don't go to the pool often, but I would love to get Erica into some swimming lessons so I don't have to worry about her quite so much around water. I don't care if she is a perfect swimmer, but I would like to think she can at least save herself. I have tried to teach her myself, but it just hasn't gone really well. Homeschooling is going well, and I thought that swimming lessons could be part of her Physical Education. She has asked me to see if we can tour the newspaper and I am going to check into that as a field trip. I am not sure what class I would fit that under, but I don't think it is a bad idea at all.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I could use some prayers today

I have been trying very hard to stay positive during this time of beloved's job coming to an end. But honestly, it is really eating at me. I am trying very hard to trust God and know that he will provide. And deep down, I know he will. So why I feel such worry and anxiety I am not really sure. We survived the last time he was unemployed and we will survive this time, and in my heart I know that. But in my mind, well sometimes it is harder to get to be quiet. Coming here for this job was a wonderful step in our lives, and has been very good for us. So I am praying that whatever comes next will be as well.

I have stared homeschooling Erica. School got out and as I had planned the next day (yesterday) I started with homeschooling. So far she is taking to it well, and I have signed her up for some of the summer activites at the library. They have more, but the sign up dates are not here yet. So far, she is having a great attitude about it.

We have started planning our summer vacation, that will be a camping trip as it always is. Only this time, instead of going to the lake we are going to a campground with more activites for the kids. I am sure Erica will have a great time and am hoping Zach will as well, since this will likely be his last vacation with us as he starts his own adult life. We have always loved camping, and it is a pretty frugal vacation.