Showing posts with label MISC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MISC. Show all posts

Saturday, October 26, 2013

It doesn't have to be overwhelming

Far to often, someone will tell me they admire the money I save but they could never do it.  They tell me they don't have the time, or the money or the whatever else they can list.  I have found however that it isn't the time or money (who really has enough of either?).  I think that usually they look at all the things they see people (regardless of if it is me or someone else) do to save money and it looks like a big chore.  Some of the things are in fact chores, but few of them are big ones.  Considering that I have fibromyalgia, adding big chores to my life is just not an option, so nothing big or strenuous ever gets added.  So I tell people that and people then say to me "so how is it you live simply and frugally then?".  The answer?  Small strokes.

It is 43 degrees and dry today.  That means the laundry is hanging outside on the clothesline.  I started hanging laundry on the clothesline almost as soon as I got married.  I simply didn't have a dryer.  (For several years I didn't have a washer but as soon as I could remedy that I could as laundromats are costly.  I own a dryer now have for quite a few years, but they cost money to run.  Sometimes I have to use mine when the rain won't break or it is just way to cold to be outside hanging it.  It will freeze dry when it is cold, but my pain issues and cold don't mix so if it is below freezing I don't hang it out anymore.  I used to, but not anymore.  So I was used to doing it,  no added chore there, and it doesn't take that long.  On days the family is home to help, I recruit them to help with hanging, they use laundry too!

One of the biggest and easiest places that most can slash spending is the grocery bill.  Do you use a lot of convenience foods?  Pick four of the ones you use most.  Each week for a month, make that convenience food for yourself.  There are many sites online you can find recipes for these and make them yourselves for pennies on the dollar.  If you change over to making just four different ones for your family you will find you save a ton, but likely after you do those four you will find that adding four more in the next month isn't a big deal and there you go a little change adding up to lots of savings.  Over the next few weeks, I will be putting in links to some of my favorite sites for different recipes, many of them for things people buy quite often.

Then we get to grocery shopping.   A price book is a great place to start.  Again, start small it doesn't have to overwhelm you.  Just start with the 10 or 15 items you use most, and put in the prices for those items at all the stores you shop at.  There are also some websites that for a fee will do this for you and tell you when to buy.  Some are worth the money, others are not but you can always try them out.  Basically though when you find a sale on an item you buy often, you get a few coupons (if you have them some items are a great deal just on sale) for said item and buy some for now, some for the pantry.  You don't need to buy 50 of the item, just what you think you will use in a reasonable time.   Now next week or next month you won't have to purchase that item, because you bought it on sale!  Score.

Now you may be thinking about how hard it is to secure all those coupons.  It really isn't hard.  There are after all several ways to get extra ones.  You can buy extra papers and clip them all.  Ask all your friends and family to save you the ones they won't use and either clip them all or make a list of what is there and file them by date.   You can also order them and pay a small fee for someone to clip them and mail them to you sorted.  My favorite site to order is HERE.  You don't pay for coupons.  You do pay a small amount for them to do the work for you.  I hope to have my favorite clippers link up here soon.  They are always fast and if I order early enough in the week I always get them before the sale ends.  This week I ordered soup coupons.  In the semi beloved likes to keep soup as it is easy for him to warm up in the microwave for a meal, and he likes soup.  I bought 40 cans of progresso soup for .75 cents each.  A great price.  I will have enough for beloved's semi and some for when we just want a quick meal or lunch of soup.  I didn't have to buy 40 cans or course,  But over the course of the winter I am sure they will all get used, so I bought what I thought we might use at sale price and there will be no  paying full price this winter.  Naturally, if your family doesn't like soup, you shouldn't buy it even at a great price unless of course you want to give it away or donate it to a food pantry for the poor.  The thing is, there are no real rules.  You just want to save some money.  Start small, so you don't burn yourself out!

I have other things I do of course, but since this post is about not being overwhelmed, I am not putting anymore in this post tonight.  For tonight, pick and choose one or two ideas that will work for you.  Start small and try them!  Once they start to work, just keep them up.  Don't add another saving activity until you feel comfortable and ready!

Friday, July 12, 2013

So the Canadian Outback is really "outback" and answers to reader questions and growing celery

Wow so much to throw in one blog post!!! 

I guess I will start with my daugter and her trip to Canada.  The trip is called "Canadian Outback".  I just didn't realize she would be in the "outback".  She will be hiking and camping in the "outback".  As in hauling her clothing, food, sleeping bag, perhaps a tent on her back!  We ended up borrowing a pack from the camp, and sleeping bags (mummy type) were on loan but after checking into them, I purchased her one.  They fit in so much less space and can be so much warmer.  I also picked up a tent yesterday dirt cheap at the thrift store to donate to the camp.  They use them so often, even though they have cabins on site and primitive sites up on "the hill" for campers.  They use tents for overflow and travel camps.  We donated one new one (well new in package we had stored for a few years since we had foster kids) to them already this year.  But this one was so inexpensive that I just couldn't leave it at the thrift store knowing they could use it.  If you know someone who has equipment to donate, let me know as this Christian camp leaves no child out.  They take donations of all kind and makes sure any child who wants to go to camp goes to camp one way or another.

I had a reader question about what I would cover my head with.  I used to wear a more "Amish" covering, a prayer kapp of sorts, only in black.  Many Amish wear white.  Mennonites often wear black and some Amish also depending on the sect.  I am considering now more of a veil which many Mennonites wear.  Only because it would stand out less in my area. The veil is more of a circle made of black material or lace that I would pin into my hair over my bun or braid.  I have not stopped wearing a bun or braid since I quit wearing a head covering before, so that would not change.  I could purchase these from websites, but I have always made them myself.  The veil is a little harder than the "bonnet" I used to wear.

For the first time ever I planted celery this year.  I just hate buying it at the store as it seems so expensive for mostly water.  It is cheaper in the fall and I do buy it on sale and dehydrate it for soups and stews and such.  This year though I decided to plant it.  It felt a little odd since there is no marriage.  The Amish plant extra if there is going to be a marriage and the brides mother is oft the only one to know, but as neighbors see the celery growing they have a clue.  However I have also learned it can be grown inside quite easily and grown from a head you buy at the grocery.  You simply put your "head" or the bottom of the stalk in water for a week or so until it starts to grow and then put it in either pot or the ground.  I have eight plants in the ground and will be cutting the outer stalks of some tonight to use in my zucchini casserole. 

The zucchini casserole is in the recipe book of my Amish friend Alma.  I will be mentioning recipes from her book here and there.  I will let you know what I think of her casserole after I make it, but I will not post the recipe here.  I will help you get a signed copy of her book (more than recipes) if you ask.  I can also tell you that her book uses everyday things in the kitchen.  You don't need wine or saffron or other expensive ingredients.

Also to those friends and family who follow me on Facebook, please bookmark my blog page and check it often.  I sometimes miss posting but I don't always post on facebook when I do post.  So check back at least once a week even if I don't put it on facebook!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Revisiting headcovering, and Erica is home.

I want to start first with how excited I am that Erica is home from her three week stint working at church camp. I was so happy to pick her up last Friday night I missed her so much. She worked hard and was very tired, but would have willingly stayed and worked another week or three. I wouldn't have it though, due to the fact she leaves for her first week of actual camping with them this coming Saturday morninng. She is headed out on her trip to Canada with this trip, and will in a few weeks then go on her trip to Red River Gorge in Kentucky. Both exciting trips for sure. The trip to Canada is combined with some mission work, I am not sure what kind so I will be excited to hear. She has had such great experiences with church camp and always learns so much. It is wonderful to watch God working there. On to the less easy decision I seem to constantly struggle with. My head being covered. I wore head coverings for several years and ended up quitting due to the amount of negative attention it seemed bring about. But a couple of weeks ago I was talking to a dear christian friend about the issue and telling her how even after a couple years now of not wearing one, I still feel naked without it. I feel that it should be there. This dear lady (who also covers her head) asked my what my struggle was. I told her it was largely the lack of people in my area doing it, and it seemed to have a negativity attached to it. If I cover my head, my husband must MAKE me do it many think. It isn't like that at all. In fact, my husband has no preference either way if my head is covered or not. To me it is about submission. I am submissive to my husband and to God. But when you say you are submissive to your husband, people think he must walk all over you or abuse you. In all honesty, a man that will take advantage of his wives submission is not doing what God asks of him. The fact that I am submissive to my husband does not mean he tells me what to do and when to do it. It does mean that I am constantly thinking of his wishes and trying to fulfill them. I do fall short of fulfilling them quite often, and he doesn't get angry and yell or scream or hit me. He may at times get irritated, but don't we all? My being submissive does not mean that I ask him permission for everything I do. Often, I do ask for his blessing on things and he most always gives it. If he has reservations we discuss it and more often than not, he thinks he is protecting me from someone or something. Then we discuss it and it goes either way depending. I still make my final decisions on things, but I always carefully consider his wishes. Right now I am considering going back to covering my hair. It is about a lot of things. One being I feel he is the only one that should enjoy seeing it down. The main reason being that covering my head is something I feel God calling me to do. It always served to make me less prideful, more mindful of God and made me feel closer to him, and it just feels "right" to me. My friend and I were discussing my reasons for no longer wearing it, and the attitudes of others was a huge reason for me. She asked me why I didn't just tell them "it's my choice to make and I made it". Simple enough and matter of fact. But me being a person who hates confrontation, sounds much easier that it will probably be although, my dear friend is totally right!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sourdough, storms and church camp.

I guess I will start with church camp first!  Erica will be leaving this coming Sunday for her first three week trek to church camp for the summer.  This is the first time she will be gone for nearly so long, and I know I will miss her horribly.  I also know that since she will be turning fifteen this July, that for both of us this is an important step.  We are horribly close and I never want that to change, but on the flip side I know we have to gradually learn to be apart even when it feels so lonely.  I really wish that Beloved could be home during more of this, but he is a truck driver, meaning a ton of alone time for each of us in the marriage.  I often feel like a single parent.  But I know Erica is going to have an awesome summer, therefore I keep telling myself this too shall pass.  Her other two weeks will be a week at a time with a few days home in between, I know that will be much easier on mom!

We had some storms last night, the worst in our area this year.  They woke everyone in the family but myself (Beloved actually had a night to spend at home before taking out another load this morning).  I was so tired from not being able to fall asleep from the heat and humidity I slept through them and never had a clue, other than knowing for days before hand they were coming.  Today as I talked to other people in our town, they woke up and were very scared.  In our family, we were not scared as high winds and even tornadoes were common when we lived in Kansas.  I am a trained spotter (doesn't help much when you are sleeping), and knew from what the storms were doing before I went to bed that anything more than perhaps some high straight line winds we were safe.  Straight line winds can be dangerous, however we were not expected to be in the highest of the winds, and we were not.  We did get a lot of rain and all of the roads in our little town were flooded as are the creeks and rivers.

I have a new sourdough started.  This is the first one I have not tried by starting myself.  It is on its second day, so I haven't used any yet.  It is however a very old starter from the Oregon Trail.  You can get a free starter HERE.  It can take some time to get it, then you have to go to the website for instructions and recipes.  I printed them out, if you don't have a printer I would suggest going to the library or a friends house to print as there are quite a few recipes for it!  The person I know that led me to it is having issues with it rising enough.  I am curious to see if it has anything to do with rise time as sourdough takes longer most times than regular breads.  I can't wait to play with it myself and see.  I will let you know what my experiments show!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The school year is winding down

That means busy days!  Tomorrow is Erica's last day before finals.  She doesn't have to go to finals with her grades and attendance so she won't go back until Wednesday.  That is the true last day and optional in my book since there is nothing going on.  But she is going to go ahead and go mostly to socialize.  She has been an honors student all year again this year and has managed perfect attendance!  She makes us very proud.

Tomorrow I am taking Erica to school in the morning to go to her awards ceremony.  Since it is right after school starts we are taking all of her teachers and her principal flowers.  We went to the thrift store tonight and picked up several pretty drinking glasses to use as vases.  Also when we bought the flowers they gave us enough of the !foam sheets and bags to hold water on the flowers when we broke them up.  If you have flowers to give check for the nice glasses.  They are often cheaper than vases and a small bouquet fits nicely in them.  For tonight the small bouquets are made and sitting in their foam wraps in large vases.  In the morning we will put the plastic bags on them, grab the vases and be ready to go.  One other thing we did tonight since they never give enough is make our own flower fresh.  I use 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of sugar per quart of water.  This helps flowers last longer, because tap water is not acidic enough for cut flowers.  It makes a huge difference in how long they last.  Erica doesn't know it yet, but a dozen roses and some carnations are set back in a vase for the office to deliver special to her tomorrow.  I hope she loves them.  She has earned a treat!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

An easy yummy dinner!

Bzz agent sent us coupons for another campaign.  It was for a Kroger dinner. We had pork tenderloin, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and crescent rolls.  We also had chocolate cake for dessert.  They were all Kroger brand.  The mashed potatoes and the mac and cheese were very easy just heat them up in the microwave.  The pork tenderloin, I browned on all sides in my big cast iron skillet, rolled it in ground up stuffing mix and back into the skillet in the oven it went for half an hour or so until it was done.  Overall, the dinner was very yummy.  I thought the potatoes had to much butter but the rest of the family didn't think so.  I normally would not purchase the pre-made potatoes and macaroni, but it was a blessing the other night since I am having a bad fibro flare and the pain has been relentless.  Given that I was very blessed to have such an easy dinner to make that night.  I would buy these items again as the flavor was good and it was so easy.  Great for a busy night or just a night when mom needs a break.  We of course tried the items free since it was a Bzzcampaign.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

I haven't been around much lately

But I hope that changes soon.  I have been in the process of fighting with Samsung to get my computer sent in to be fixed on warranty.  It took a month with many phone calls, texts and emails to finally get them to send a label to take it.  Without the label they wouldn't have even looked at it.  I doubt I will ever buy another one of their products again, just because it was so hard to get this done.  So they have had my computer for a week now and I hope it is coming home soon.  I have been using others in the house, but I can't always get them when I am ready to blog.  I have also been using a lot of my computer time working on writing a manuscript.  Today I finally gave it to Beloved to read.  I am not sure how soon it will be published, because I am considering assisted self publishing and that is going to mean I need to save up some money.  I have a company in mind that I think I will be working with on it.  I also want to find a couple of other people to read it before I submit it for editing and such.  I am sure there are small things that need fixed and I am hoping allowing a couple of people to read it will help me as they give input.  I of course had looked over it myself, but since I wrote it I feel apt to miss something. 

The weather here has been awesome the last two days.  In the sixties, but windy.  It is supposed to rain again.  At this point I am tired of rain and snow, I am tired of the mud! But since we were in drought last year we do need the moisture I think at this point any more we get will just run off.

The coke deal is awesome.  It is five 12 packs for $15 but with the $5 ECB back, it makes them $2 each.  But imagine my surprise when I got there and found .75 cent off coupons on some of mine.  I only found four with coupons, but that made my diet coke five 12 packs for $7!!!!  They also have some jelly beans that are free after ECB.  Some years they have a free Easter item every week leading into Easter.  Of course you pay for it and get your ECB back, but that is like cash just use it before it expires!

I am looking forward to going to a Ladies only retreat on April 5th and 6th at our church camp.  This will be the first time I go to one, but I have wanted to for the last several years, things just didn't work out.  If I enjoy it I may try to go to the fall one.  I never really leave my family and do this sort of thing, this will be a first for me so I am really looking forward to it, all of the other ladies in our church really seem to enjoy them.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I have taught myself many things in life

I have taught myself to crochet, knit, make soap and laundry soap, sew, can and dry foods and cook all kinds of things.  Most of these things my mother couldn't teach me because she was gone quite often.  She was being a single mother, going to school and working at times and at other times working two shifts. 

The one thing I struggle with is housekeeping.  I am not good at organizing things, and the clutter gets out of control at times.  I just really lack in this area, and I am not afraid to admit it.  I wish this was as easy to learn as most of the other things I have taught myself.  I mean for sewing, crochet, knitting, canning, cooking it is most times as easy as a quick online search or you can get a book.  But for housekeeping, that just isn't the case.  Combine that with this tiny house, and it is a daily struggle for me.  At this point though, I am determined to win this battle.  I am not sure how I am going to do this, just that I will do it. 

I started with some of my plans today that I hope will help.  One thing I did was throw out a lot.  There are things that we keep that really can go.  Such as the magazines that we like the article in or want to read again.  Or maybe it is kept to cut out one article.  Today they went.  If I didn't get something read again, or cut out and saved by now I am likely not going to get it done so they are gone.  I am hoping that this alone will help some.  I am just giving myself the freedom to get rid of stuff.  To throw it out if it is trash, recycle it, donate it, put it on the curb (I have gotten rid of many items this way, even broken appliances that someone usually thinks they can fix and maybe they can!), whatever but some of it just needs to go!

But that doesn't help the stuff I have to keep.  The soap making supplies, sewing supplies, etc.  I am struggling with those items.  I do use some plastic bins, but then you have to have a place to put them.  So here I am hoping that my brain will grasp better organization and housekeeping skills.  I so wish there was a book for this!  But I am trying to stay positive and keep telling myself I can do this. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I can't believe it is almost time for school to start

School starts again next week!  The summer has flown by, we have been so busy.  Erica has a ton of activities right now.  Sunday, we went to the Reds game.  We got her tickets for her birthday along with the shirt of her favorite player.  When she got free tickets for her grades and we went earlier this year, I didn't expect her to take such an liking to it.  I really have a tough time at the games, my fibromyalgia makes it hard to have fun at such things.  I have to push though to continue to give her a normal life.  Tomorrow, she has a retreat with the youth group.  The youth pastor is taking the boys on one, and his wife has the girls for one.  The girls are staying at the youth pastor's house, but they have a lot of fun activities planned.  She is looking forward to it.  Yesterday we went to the thrift store and got her the rest of the clothes she needs for school.  We always get a few things now and then in January if she needs something replaced we try to do that.  She got three pairs of jeans and some shirts yesterday.  I will have to hem her jeans.  I always have to for some reason we just can't find anything to fit her in the legs.  It isn't a big deal though since I hem them in a way where you can't really tell and the factory hem still shows, and it only takes a few minutes per pair since there is no cutting involved.    So many girls never learn anything about sewing anymore.  I am not an excellent seamstress at all, but highly advise girls and even boys to take classes to at least learn some basic sewing skills.  A few basic skills and you can save a ton of money by doing your own simple alterations.  She also found a new swimsuit she needed a new one pretty badly, and they were half price!  I let her pick two at that price so she is set for the rest of this season and next year as well.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What did they expect to hear?

When you ask someone who runs a company that is proud to say they are a Christian company.  When a Christian stands behind the Bible, we are supposed to be surprised?  Let me add here that I would never refuse to be friends with someone because of something like being gay, anymore than I would if they were Hispanic, black or Chinese.  But that doesn't mean I have to encourage that choice.  I don't have to go around and tell people I think it is ok to do something that is specifically mentioned in the Bible as wrong, just as I don't have to treat someone badly because of it.  In fact, it is my job to let the love of God shine and let them see that I can still love them even if they are living on the other side of the Bible.  What other way can we bring them to Christ?  In the same way, Chic-Fil-A has not refused to serve people whose beliefs they don't agree with.  They have just stated that they stand behind the Bible.  Why is it that people want to boycott them because of that?  There was a time in this country when they would have been boycotted for not standing with the Bible.  Yes, he was asked a direct question and he gave a direct answer.  What is so wrong with that?  It would be different if they refused to hire because of it, or refused to serve because of it, but that is not what is happening here.

It scares me what this country is turning into.  We seem to have really lost the base that our country was founded on.  When it is more popular to go against the Bible than with it, we are headed for scary situations.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Looks like a busy week coming up

Next week is VBS at church, and I am going to be helping with recreation time!  I have not helped with anything like this in quite some time, and I am looking forward to it!  Of course we are always looking for new ideas for outdoor activities during this time!  If you have any good ideas, I will take them!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

More Driver Education

Since the day Beloved started trucking for a living, I have tried to educate with this blog.  The main reason being, we just don't know.  Before Beloved started driving a truck, I had no idea how complicated it was(is) and how little things that we all do in our four wheelers (cars and trucks) will not only make the life of a trucker easier, but the roads safer.  I have tried to do this in little posts here and there, so today's post is something else I have learned that I would have never thought of!

I know I have said here before that most trucks are "governed", meaning they have a set top speed.  This is for several reasons.  Trucking companies do it to try to hit top fuel efficiency, to cut back on tickets, to save on insurance premiums and I am sure there are many other reasons.  The problem is, this is a double edge sword.  There are times when it makes a truck very slow.  When a truck is going up a tall hill or mountain, the power is still governed.  That means the driver has no more power to pull from, the engine is putting out the max it has been allowed.  This can cause problems.  Many times, the drivers will get in the lane with the least traffic to try to get up to full speed when they know a huge hill is coming.  By getting up to full speed, they will still be crawling at the top of the hill.  If they do not get up full speed, and they miss a gear or somehow don't shift right going up the hill, the load can actually start to pull them in reverse!  So next time you are coming up on a huge hill, and a truck is in the far left lane not going as fast as you would like, please try to understand that very soon they will be in the far right lane with their flashers on barely moving and hoping to get to the crest of the hill!

HOWEVER....  The problems do not go away at the crest of that hill!  They can get bigger.  This is where you really want to try again to move out from in front of the big truck!  That truck's brakes are run on air.  Many people don't understand this, the air does not close (or apply) the brakes.  The air keeps the brakes open.  Going down a big hill, if the driver uses the brakes to much he will run out of air and the brakes will lock up putting him in a skid.  There is nothing he can do about this, except to not over apply the brakes and therefore not run out of air.  But if someone is in front of him riding the brakes all the way down what is he to do?  He will try to change lanes, but that isn't always possible people won't let him in at all times.

Why do I continue these posts?  I do it because I know that before my Beloved started driving a big rig, I had no idea of most of these things.  I think that most people don't share the road with Big Rigs well, because they don't understand how!  I hope through the posts here, I can share what I have learned.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Still learning about soap, work in the garden, trucking news

So today I looked at my first batch of soap again.  It has been maybe three weeks since I made it.  It is solid, but still softer than I would like to see.  The harder it is, the longer it will last.  I am a little worried about my ratio of solid fats to liquid.  But I will let it harden another three weeks or so.  I am working on another recipe.  This first recipe has nothing in it for dyes.  The next one I am going to experiment with some natural dyes.  I will be using herbs to dye.  I want the recipes to be all natural.  I am hoping to make a good body bar and a good shampoo bar.  I also want the shampoo bar to be a nice conditioner if possible.  I am still researching all these things.   If I get to where I am happy with the end product, I plan to use them as gifts and maybe at some point sell them.  Above that though, I hope to solve my own skin issues.  I am on medications yet again due to my rash.  The third time in a year I have a rash that neither I nor my doctors can answer for.  I can tell you it is itchy, painful and leaves scars.  I am trying to mix my own personal body bar that cuts my skin issues.  I have yet to be able to try even my first batch, as it is still hardening, but I know that less chemicals can't hurt, and I can pronounce everything in my bars.

Today, we also put straw on the garden.  The garden is planted and mostly coming up now.  We picked up straw to cut the weeds down.  It is about 3" thick in most of the garden, except where I still have things waiting to come up.  There, instead of putting thick "flakes" of straw, I spread it over more.  But I have another bale left to fill in where needed.  This is the first year I have put the straw in the garden.  Every year I have fought weeds and this is a new trial for us.  I know it will hold moisture, I hope it will cut my weeds way down, and it can be tilled in next year to mulch the soil. 

Today Beloved and I went to move some stuff from his truck into the one he will be using this week.  His is in the shop.  He put it in Friday, hoping for a quick fix on his fifth wheel.  Turns out they have to order parts, and it isn't safe to drive it without the parts.  He had issues with it last week and would not use it again until they checked it.  He was hoping for a quick fix, but since the parts have to be ordered it will be at least a few days.  So he is giving up his comforts, his fridge and microwave, his TV and his food storage.  Looks like a week of sandwiches for him.  We had to move some things, his electric cooler, his GPS;s, his Sat. Radio and his bedding.  I hate him being out of his truck, but safety has to come first.  When your vehicle weighs 80,000 pounds, you can't take chances.  On the other hand, we met one of his co-workers.  Beloved doesn't know a lot of them, since they all come and go at different times.  But we met another one today.  She is sweet as pie, and has only been driving a few months.  She got her CDL after her beloved's job left the country and he couldn't find work.  Before that, she was a SAHM, and they traded roles.  It was nice to meet her and hear how it is from the mother being gone side of things.  One thing I have really learned is great respect for the people how make goods move in our country.  This country would stand still if not for our truck drivers!  It is easy to think that things are flown.  We look at companies such as DHL and UPS and we think they fly much of what we ship.  The truth is, they have drivers like my hubby who move most of the stuff across country.  They fly far less than we think!  I really thought they flew more of it, until my Beloved started picking up at one airport and delivering across country to another.  I am amazed at the amount of goods shipped "overnight" are shipped by truck!  I really thought they were all done by plane.

Erica worked on her bike today.  She has more trouble with her bike.  She has a very good bike, a Schwinn.  They are awesome about replacing parts, but she has needed so many!  And the one she needed now was one that she lost because it was off for replacement.  Well today we were at a garage sale where they had a Schwinn for $10.  Almost the same as hers but older, as these peoples kids had moved out and they were clearing out the garage.  So we bought it for Erica.  She has her bike almost fixed.  Her brother is going to help her finish it, but he hasn't been feeling so well, he is down with allergies.  She is however learning a lot in the process.  Tonight she did all the work with a little guidance from her brother.  We have told him not to do it for her, but to teach her.  She is learning a lot.  She already checks the oil and washer fluid in Beloved's semi.  And she hooks and unhooks his trailers for him when she goes to drop off and pick up.  She loves to help with those things!  I just hope she wants to do these things to her car when she gets one!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

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.


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

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!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Frugal uses for those last bits

We  all have them, those last bits of things.  The ketchup inside the bottle, the shampoo inside the bottle, the last sliver of a bar of soap.  But that doesn't mean we have to waste them!  I will share my uses for the last bits, and of course anyone else can also.  And of course others will have bits and pieces I didn't think of, but they will chime in I am sure!

The last bits of bars of soap are an easy one for me.  I save them until I make laundry soap again.  They get ground up to use in my laundry soap.  But, they can also be used if you make your own loofahs, just put a slit in them for those bits of soap and use your loofah as normal!  Of course, you can always use a new bar and put it in the dish on top of the old.  When they dry they will stick together as one.

The last bits of a bottle of ketchup, well those are pretty simple!  I put a tiny bit of water in the bottle and swish it around.  I use that in anything where I would use tomato sauce.  Or, if I am making up some BBQ sauce or baked beans, I use it in there.  The last bits of a mustard bottle, I do the same and use in BBQ sauce or baked beans.

A bit of soda pop in a two liter bottle that has gone flat, can be used in plain gelatin to make it the flavor of the soda.

Pickle juice, I use in cooking.  I often put some in a batch of chili.  It can be used in other things also.  Where you just want a little dill flavor.  Just be careful, it can be strong and will thin a sauce if you use to much.

Of course there are those things that are obvious.  Shampoo, conditioner, the last of liquid soaps, a little water can be added and get enough out for two or three more uses easy.  But what if it is a full bottle of shampoo that you tried that you hate?  Wait until your liquid soap dispenser is empty add 1/4 of the bottle of water and add the rest full of shampoo.  Shake it up, and use it as hand soap.  I add the water, because I think the shampoo needs thinned down a bit to use as hand soap.  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My favorite things

Of course first and foremost, I love the God who give me everlasting life.  And after that, I love my Beloved and my children.  But there are other things.  I think of Oprah's list of favorite things.  So I thought I would do a short list of my favorite things!  The order here, means nothing it is not a list that sorts out order, in fact, everyone is equal I think!

1.  I love friends who support me.  Those who are there to lift me up when I am down.  Maybe they are bloggers, maybe they are in my everyday life.  But they are friends and support me.

2.  I love new friends!  Those who I meet on my blog that I didn't know I had.  They are awesome!

3.  I love other bloggers.  Those who teach me to be frugal, self sufficient, or a better person in some way!

4.  I love people with a teachers heart.  They may be older than me, they can be younger than me.  But they want to teach me something.

5.  I love people who share the love of God!  Maybe we share in Bible study, maybe we share in a picnic, but we share the love of God!

6.  I love OLD friends.  The ones who have been with me thick and thin.  The ones who really know me, honestly know me and still love me for who I am.

I know I will continue to add to this list.  This is a short list I know.  But I hope to show those I appreciate and love that I really do love them!  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Frugal cooking

I have been working on trying new recipes.  One of my favorite recipe books is the More With Less Cookbook.  I tried a chicken recipe from it last week.  I changed the recipe a bit, as I always do.  But basically it was chicken in a baking pan with a honey, mustard, salt, pepper, whatever other seasonings I added basting sauce.  Poured over the chicken and baked.  Basting every so often.  For the real recipe, buy the cookbook.  It is one of the few I own.  I don't buy many cookbooks, but this one is a must have even though I did change up the recipe some based on the tastes of my family.  The one in the book called for curry seasoning.  I don't buy it, we don't use it.  But the cookbook is full of frugal recipes that can be changed a bit to make work for your family. 

There are few recipe books I buy.  But the above is one of them!  Another is the Fanny Farmer Cookbook.  I love that one.  It is full of real cooking recipes.  GREAT for new housewives, and anyone who cooks "normal" things.  NOT full of things not in most pantries.  In fact, I learned to cook with Fanny Farmer and Food Network!  I have given up cable, so no longer have Food Network, and honestly what I saw after a few years they lost the teaching aspect and went to the fancy things that I would never do.  But Fanny Farmer was a great teacher.  My husband LOVES what I learned from Fanny Farmer.  I honestly couldn't cook when we got married even though I had been married almost ten years before him.  I worked full time, and just never learned.  My husband is a real meat and potatoes man.  He will give those up for biscuits and gravy!  He lived through packet gravy (you know the just add water stuff?) for a long time before I learned to make gravy.  Who knew gravy was so darn easy????

I have learned that Gravy was a thing that was used to stretch meat back when meat was a treat.  Now, we eat way more meat than we need.  I think we need to go back to good gravies over rice or noodles.  Yes, we have to watch the amount of carbs.  We have to have more veggies than carbs and meats.  But if we look at the normal plate of most Americans, Meat is the main thing on the plate.  Veggies should be!

Going into spring and summer, we should all focus on putting more veggies on our plates and less meat and carbs!  It can be more expensive, but not this time of year if we grow our own and can our extras!

And to that end, lets all try to learn some of the old recipes and how to work with them!  I for one plan to try to learn to work with greens more.  I am going to try collard greens!  I have been afraid of them.  But for at least one meal, we are going to eat them!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Trucker Steve tells us the hardest part of a truckers job

Trucker Steve talks But he also speaks the truth! America NEEDS truck drivers. More Trucker Steve to come, and I thank him for posting his videos. He is showing America what truck drivers really do and what the families really endure. I NEVER appreciated truck drivers before my hubby became one. I just didn't know and understand what they endured. I guess I thought they all just went somewhere close and dropped the trailer and someone else picked it up. That is so not true!!!!! Even when places have "local" drivers. The company Beloved works for has a few "local drivers" however they can't do much. The OTR (Over the Road) drivers count on them so that they can bring in a load late at night, and the local guys who deliver in a 150 radius can deliver the next day. However now they are short on "local drivers". That means that where the OTR (Over The Road) drivers would come in and drop a load for a local person to deliver 100 miles away so the OTR drivers could have a night at home..... Well that is not happening!!! Now the OTR drivers are not getting home, delivering and going right back out without ever seeing home! I thank Trucker Steve, and will be using more of his videos here. I thank him for showing how it really is. It is just flakes, not frosted flakes! In trucking, there are no tears and no frosting!