Thursday, May 31, 2012

A wonderful post from another blog!

This is a great post over on Frugal Granola about traveling with little ones this time of year.  But really it is great for all of us!  Sure it is very important to make sure our little ones have full tummies to keep them happy, but we all have to eat even on the road!

When the kids say the wrong thing and musings of a school year past

So school is out for the summer, and Erica will be starting a summer reading project soon.  But for now, she is on "free" break.  She also has a summer pool pass.  Other than helping around the house, she has been at the pool every day with the exception of today.  She asked today to go and I told her no, we had chores to do.  Well one of the things I asked her to do, I asked for three times today.  Not a huge job, just take the newspapers I had laid on the couch and put them away as we use them for the guinea pig cage.  Tonight, she still hadn't done it and I called her on it.  She gave me the wrong answer.  She "has to much going on".  My first thought was that I can take away the pool pass.  I reminded her that I can.  But instead, I am going to tie it to her chores.  If she does what I ask tomorrow she can go to the pool.  If I ask her for anything in the evening, and her chores the next morning, she can go the next day that I let her.  If she doesn't, well a day at the pool is missed. 

For her, going to the pool is a huge thing.  So huge, she pays half of her pool pass each year.  She works mowing lawns and doing odd jobs to earn her money.  We believe that as she earns money, it is important for her to learn to save and to spend.  To learn what priorities she wants to have as far as spending money.  She has a savings account, and I always love it when she asks me to take her and make a deposit.  But we also want her to learn to spend responsibly.  Luckily, we have not had to work hard with her when it comes to giving.  She loves to give, so that part comes easy for us to teach.

On the plus side, we got Erica's final report card.  She averaged A's all year with two B's for the entire year.  I love she has stayed on Honor Roll,  but I am not sure I feel our school pushes enough.  If our school pushed harder, I know my daughter would work harder and still get the A's.  I just think they let the kids off to easy.  It seems much easier now than it was when I was in school.  I have thought of homeschooling, but part of me thinks I wouldn't be fair for being to tough.  The other part of me knows that my daughter is like her mom, up for a challenge.  I don't think I will feel the home school/ public school issue will be over in my brain until I am in the grave.  I think I will have it with my grandchildren!  Of course with them it won't be for me to decide.  I just keep praying on it and I know God will lead me.


Friday, May 25, 2012

The garden is planted

I am so proud of Erica.  She helped me get the garden planted.  We did not have to wait for help from beloved, and I could not have done it without her help.  I bought a pizza tonight and we had a Pizza party for her good grades and her awesome help with the garden today.  It was kind of a mother/daughter night also.  Her A's this year were awesome.  She had only 2 B's all year!  And she helped so much in the garden with no bad attitude.  She was awesome today and beloved would have been so proud!  It is a smaller garden this year than the past few, but with beloved being on the road and not being able to help me at all, I think I needed it to be smaller.  And I have his blessing on that.  Later today, I have to go buy corn to can.  I hope that Erica will be as willing to help with that.

The pool opens tomorrow for the season.  We will be getting Erica her pool pass for the season.  It is $90 and she will pay half.  We ask her to pay half, because she earns money and we want her to learn to budget.  We pay for her church camp each year (our church pays half for every member because it is a huge Christian experience), and we pay for other things we feel important.  But some things, we think she needs to learn to spend or save on.  She gets her allowance from us, and she averages $40 a week on mowing jobs.  We try to teach her to spend, save, donate, buy small gifts and tithe.  Of course in buying small gifts, we try to encourage her to do some handmade gifts because they are always appreciated.  There are some people who say we don't spend enough on our children or we ask to much of them.  To those people, all I can say is that I worked from the time I was 13 for every penny I ever got.  Things like church camp were not free to me, I had to pay it.  I don't feel like I was abused or neglected for it.  It taught me a lot.  It taught me the best things in life are not easy.

For those that say I should hand my children everything....  WELL... I could, but that isn't best for them.  Sure, Disney vactions, four wheelers and go carts for Christmas and the like, well those things are great and wonderful.  But what does that teach them?  And even more what does that leave them to look forward to?  Nope, neither of my kids has ever been to Disney.  And if you ask they, they don't want to go.  If you ask them if they would rather do that or spend a week camping, they will choose camping.  You ask them why?  They will tell you they can talk to family more and fish and cook their fish and if they camp at the right place they can have mini golf and movies under the stars free while they camp.  That reminds me, our village has a new farmers market and a free movie each week.  DD and I need to take in that move together!  Gotta love fun with friends!

If you could go back in time a few years and ask my kids and the Foster kids we had, they would give you a great memory of "burning down Pizza Hut".  Sure that means nothing to my readers, but allow me to explain!  We were going camping for two weeks with four foster children who had never been camping and our two children.  All the kids had assignments when we were there.  The had to learn and teach two skills.  They had to do one outdoor cooking, and one other thing such as first aid, fire building, etc.  Even my Erica who was 4 at the time!  I assigned things that each of them could research and do, and Erica being so small had to help the others as her assignment.  Well one of my girls had solar oven pizzas.  She researched it, and I helped her make a solar oven for pizza.  Of course it included a camp fire to help the heat and to brown the hamburger.  Well the wind came up during the third round of baking (they were English Muffin Pizzas) and blew the cardboard and foil oven into the fire.  It was a disaster on a small scale.  But one we all laughed about and had a good time with.  At the end of the day, we all ate good and learned a ton!  I am sure that all the Fosters we had still look back on it the same as my children, Beloved and I do with fond memories.    Those camping trips always ended up after we packed up to leave with us all around the picnic table saying what we had learned and we were not allowed to repeat what someone else had said!  Beloved and I learned each time that there was always something to learn and something to teach.

Moral of the story is, if you want to take kids and teach them and really have fun with them at the same time....  Money can't do that.  TIME does that.  My daughter helped me and we got our garden in just the two of us.  Without a few years of teaching her, that would not have happened.  And it did happen and then she and I had a pizza party!  She will forever remember that!  She will remember the night that WE did the garden, and her brother came home and she told him the leftover pizza was hers, because he did not help with the garden and wasn't invited to our party!   It was a GIRL POWER night as far as she was concerned.  Later, I sat and had some talk time with my son.  Just about his job and junk.  I hope that mattered to him.  But if it didn't, well fishing with him did matter to him back when we had camping and he taught hobo dinners over the campfire, and fishing first aid such as removing a fish hook from you and your pet.  Yes friends....  Those are the things our kids remember!

Some awesome campfire cooking tools are available in cast iron!  Lodge Logic Cast Iron Skillet with Glass Lid - 10.25 Inch - Lodge LogiPaula Deen 11-In. Cast-Iron Hoecake PanPaula Deen 11-In. Cast-Iron Hoecake Pan
Camp Chef Cast-Iron Popcorn Popper

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Finally got the garden tilled up!

I finally got the garden tilled up today.  It did cost me a little, but it would have cost me the same amount to rent the tiller and do it myself.  It was so much faster when he did it with his lawn tractor.  Last night I got some manure and peat moss and put on the garden for him to till in.  This weekend, Erica and I will go to the nursery and pick some plant starts since we are starting so darn late this year.  Beloved just doesn't get enough time home to do all these projects anymore, and my fibromyalgia  just doesn't allow it.  In fact, I am worried about getting all the  plants in, but I know Erica will be great help.  It is always so much better to grow your own food.  It just tastes better, and you know exactly what was used to grow it!

Erica is out of school for the year.  Her year ended last Thursday since she had good attendance and A's she got out of finals.  She has chosen to go tomorrow for the true last day.  I think she just wants to hang out with her friends.  She is anxiously awaiting the pool opening this weekend, and Church camp later in June.  I am sure we will be doing some other activities also, but I don't have them all planned yet.

Monday, May 21, 2012

It is the preppers time of year

I am getting ready to start the garden.  Beloved is not home much, and that means that I don't have his help.  He gave me his blessing to pay someone to till the garden for me.  I just can't do it myself with my fibro and pain issues.  I am hoping it doesn't cost me a ton.  Also, Erica will have to help with much of the planting and weeding.  As we only have a small area, there are many things we don't have space to grow.  One of those things is corn.  Just so happens it is on sale this week very cheap at a local store.  I will be buying many ears and Erica will be helping me blanch, cut and can it.  Yes, it is a ton of work.  No, canned corn is not that expensive at Aldi's.  But it isn't as good of quality, and it isn't going to help me when the value of the dollar continues to decline.  And it isn't going to help me if the price of fuel keeps rising and jobs keep disappearing. 

This is yet another reason that I keep trying to learn new skills such as soap making.  Right now, I could buy some soaps far cheaper than I can make them using coupons.  But those soaps are tearing up my skin.  And, how long will that be true?  If the worst happens, and the economy sinks even farther, I may have to barter my soap for other things I need such as fabric for making clothing.  Many people look down on preppers.  But those are the same people who are going to be looking for preppers when push comes to shove.  When a dollar means nothing, because you can't buy anything with it. 

I think to the people a few months ago who bashed me to tears, the ones who I gave up my job because I couldn't please.  The thing is, they are the ones who will suffer when things get worse.  They are the ones who will not be able to survive and will be looking to us preppers to help them.  The ones who pick at us, make fun of us for making due with what God gives us.  They pick at us because we are not rich.  The funny thing is, they are the poor ones.  They and their children will suffer in the end because they did not care to learn to take care of themselves. 

One of them said to me "your daughter doesn't ask for things because you make her feel she isn't worth it".  Not true at all.  My daughter knows she is worth far more than rubies, because she is becoming a proverbs 31 woman.  I hope the person who said that to me is teaching her sons (in the Christian school she teaches at) what a real wife is looking for.  Not the wife a money can buy her sons.

Preppers unite.  We really do have to build each other up.  Because many do not understand us.  But we are the ones everyone will be running to in the end when push comes to shove.

\\\pickmake fun of us

Friday, May 18, 2012

Finally got some soap made

Yesterday I finally got everything together and got some soap made.  I had posted about it awhile back, but had to get all the supplies, and then had to find the time to get it made.  So yesterday I made my first batch.  I checked on it today, and it is solid now.  My main concern is how hard or soft it will be.  I am a little afraid I used to much of one oil or another and it will be to soft.  But regardless, it will be useable soap I suppose.  I want to order some other oils so I can play with some different recipes for my skin issues.  I was surprised how easy it really is using the cold press method.  I may make some liquid soap soon also, as I am a huge fan of body wash.  If I find a recipe I love, I may make some as Christmas gifts.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It is grilling time!

I love this time of year, because I get to cook the meals outside!  I cook about everything on the grill that I do on the stove.  I am also a Bzz Agent.  So I was thrilled when they sent my package for Kroger pork!  They also sent me some new recipes to try.  It turned out great.  Don't be afraid to try new things on the grill!  I am also grilling tonight but I am not sure what yet.  <img src="" alt=""/>

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Loosing the guilt

One of the questions as a homemaker that I have fought at times is the guilt of not bringing home a paycheck.  But I think that we wives can easily fight that.  Sure, I may not "bring home the bacon", but I do have the time to find it on sale, perhaps combine a coupon with that sale.  I have the time to cook the bacon instead of the family having to eat out.  I have time to hang laundry on the line to dry instead of using electricity that we have to pay for.  I have time to cook from scratch and make bread, instead of buying more expensive prepared versions.  (I am not saying I never buy bread, because I do I just couldn't keep up if I didn't buy some).  I am not spending money on gas and oil to drive back and forth to work, and I don't have to buy special clothes for work.  I am able to make my own laundry soap instead of buying the expensive stuff in the store. 

When I factor in all the things that I can do being home that I didn't  have a hope with keeping up with when I worked full time,  I can conquer the guilt of not working outside the home.  When I look back at what I paid for childcare when I worked outside the home, I often only brought home around $100 a week, and that was before I factored in gas, oil, clothing expenses.  I really believe that I am saving more money by being home than I was bringing in when I worked full time.

One reason I think we sometimes feel guilt, is that other people don't always see the value in what we are doing.   I have had many people tell me that hanging laundry has no value, it takes to much time for the money it saves.  Well, I guess they can have their opinions, but I have to disagree.  Many people don't see the value in making your own bread, but I dare you to find one of those people who isn't thrilled if you give them a loaf hot out of the oven!   But we have to remember that our value is not based on what other people think.  It is based on what we are doing for our family.

We have to let go of this guilt.  We have to remember why we do the things we do, why we have made the choice to be homemakers!  One way I have found to do that is to read the blogs of other people who have the same values as I do.  Another way is just looking at my family and seeing the reasons I do the things I do.  When Beloved and I have date night, I remember that we are able to because I was able to save enough money in the budget to make it possible. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers day to all the moms!  I had a nice quiet ones.  My kids took me out to dinner tonight.  Earlier in the weekend, Beloved and I had a date night.

Beloved is settled into his new truck and overall, he is happy with it.  I made macaroni salad to send out with him this week.  I always try to send something special with him. 

I am already working and thinking towards Fathers Day and Beloved's birthday.  They both fall in the same week, and some years on the same day.  I have one project I am working on for him.  Hopefully I will be able to get it finished in time.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wow, a busy weekend finished! Praise to Truck Drivers

We all worked so hard this weekend!  Beloved is all set up in his new truck.  I will have to take some pictures soon, as we had to get creative!  There have been some wonderful things about his new truck, and some things that have not been so great that we have had to find a way to work around!

One great thing, the TV antenna is built in!  It gets better reception than his indoor antenna he had before!  Of course he doesn't use the TV all that much.  A couple nights a week he gets in and settled early enough to enjoy the TV.  But when he can enjoy it, it makes his truck feel so much more like home!

One downfall, no top bunk.  He used that for storage and misses it a lot!

A plus to that....  The bed lifts much easier for the storage under it, and has a deal to keep it up.  That means his extra case of bottled water and some other things are much easier stored under the bed.

A downfall to that, no place to store his extra clothing.  But between us, we came up with a solution with two shower rods and two milk crates.   He can hang clothing and extra sheets and blankets, and the milk crates hang from them also and hold socks, underwear and other things. 

He has nice windows in the bunk of this truck!  I just wish the opened for him.  But at least he can see out nicely.  And the AC works in this one.  In the other one, well it was just heat or more heat lol. 

All in all, it is a super nice upgrade for  him.  I am glad the guy in it wanted a brand new truck.  Of course he didn't have a fridge and microwave and all in it to move.  So he probably fit in a new (smaller) truck better.  Beloved actually made a move into a bigger truck with this deal.  Yes, it has 600K miles on it, but his other one had over 800K miles on it and is much older.  I really think Beloved will drive this one into the ground if given a chance!

I am just so proud of Beloved.  To be in a job six months and be told he has "earned" a brand new semi.  That is just a big deal.  To turn it down and get basically pick of the fleet is also a big deal.

It doesn't surprise me though.  People told me when he was unemployed and I was standing behind him that he was not worth standing behind.  One person commented on my blog that the was a "douche".  What do they know???  They never saw his real work ethic.  He works hard when given a fair chance.  Sure, he is making less now per hour.  Truck drivers make FAR less per hour than most.  In fact, many times they don't make min. wage.  When you figure that DH works 14 hours a day, and it often takes him two days to earn  $200, well he only earns $7 an hour.  That isn't great money.  And if you factor in how many hours he is away from home to earn that, it is even less.

Next time you see a truck driver and they slow you down, because it takes them longer to speed up or turn a corner, give them a smile and a wave.  It isn't an easy job.  It is a harder job than most of us think.  They have so many rules and then there are the rules of the shippers and receivers that keep them waiting for hours and running around from lot to lot.   It is far more than I ever thought!  I always thought it was point A to point B and you got loaded and unloaded and sent on your way.  Never knew that sometimes the driver sat in a dock for 24 hours without pay.  Yep, that happened to my Beloved once!  Drivers don't make money if the wheels are not turning!  When you sit in a dock for hours, you are not getting paid.  It happens more often than we think!  Beloved did get "detention" pay for that.  $24!!!!  $1 an hour.  Would you work for $1 an hour?  Most Americans consider that slave labor or sweat shop pay.  But MANY Americans work for that, including our truck drivers.

Please keep that in mind next time you want to scream at them for slowing you down!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Going to be a busy weekend

Beloved is bringing home his Semi this weekend for us to empty out and clean.  And then he is going to go trade it for his new one!  It is going to be a busy weekend setting him up in his new one.  But I hear it has a bigger bed, meaning when I spend the night with him, we will be more comfy.  We may have to put it in the shop for them to remove a cabinet for his fridge.  But that isn't a big deal.  In some ways I hate he had to turn down a brand new one, but they were not what he wanted, and they have been having big issues with them.  In fact, the manufacturer has had to rent the company some trucks since they can't seem to fix some of the issues with the new ones.

In other news, the school year is coming to an end for Erica.  She has no Fridays left this year!  State testing is done, and she still has all A's for the year so far.  She is looking forward to not taking finals based on her grades (A's) and attendance.  They have had no weather days this year, so she may actually get out of school early this year!

I am working on some needlepoint for Beloved for our Anniversary.  I don't do much of it anymore, since it is so hard for me now due to my fibro and my eyesight is just not good.  I had to buy magnifiers to put over my glasses!  I hate to admit it, but it is true.

I stopped at Ollies today.  They are near the doctor I went to for my Fibro.  I picked up some books.  They are super cheap there, and I found some of my favorite Amish novels to read.  Now If I just find time to read them!