Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pullin out my frugal blackbelt

Ya, I tell ya in this day and age I really need to keep my frugal black belt out on the counter.  Money has gotten tighter in our neck of the woods.  At mine and Dhs employment, we probably won't be getting a merit raise this year, and they are hoping not to lay anyone off.  To get that info from a hospital is a little unnerving.  That puts us no where near someone without a job, but it does mean we will have to tighten the belt to offset rising prices in all areas.  Add to that medical bills, needed home repairs, Christmas, helping family, and a needed trip to see family at the end of the year, and we are in a tight little area.  We have suspended our YMCA membership for now and maybe permanently, as well as selling some things.  I have thi funny tendency to work on the home when I can't do anything else to rasie money.  The other day I repaired a sofa cushion one of our dogs ate.  Amazing what duc tape can do.(smile).  I also repaired a sugar coffeecreamer set that was broken.  Add to that general cleaning for the house,laundry, and ironing.  It also changes your focus when it comes to cooking.  I am looking in the fridge and saying what can I do with this more often than not.  Really these are all things I should do on a regular basis.  I should repair items in a timely manner, I should make good use of leftovers, use less meat, less sugar, etc.  I have always tried to be frugal as a general rule.  I keep a garden, grow fruit trees and berry bushes, make alot from scratch, keep the power use down etc, but when the belt needs a little tightening, you always find other things you could be doing.   Yesterday while working in the garden I picked my first zucchinni of the season, Sounds funny to be saying that in the fall, but these are late planted squash.  Makes for a pretty zucchinni I guess cause it is cooler.  Anyway, I have this zuchinni so this morning I took my zuchinni and made a crustless quiche for breakfast.  Yay, way to get a veggie for breakfast!

Christmas is coming and this year is going to have lots and lots of homemade gifts. A christmas tradition I started with my kids is PJs for a christmas eve gift.  When the kids were young their PJs were made by me.  Mainly cause we had no money to buy Pjs.  Each child had a custom designed set of pjs.  They get their jammie on christmas eve and we would watch "a Christmas story" before going to bed.  That tradition holds today.  Even my dd who is grown still believes she gets Pjs on Christmas eve.  They know it is Pjs, but they always look forward to what kind of PJs each year.  Over the last few years I have opted to buy said PJs, but this year I believe I am going back to the old way of making said jammies.  I am also going to make goodie bags for coworkers, both mine and Dhs.  Extended family will be getting ornaments for trees.  So I am in the process of starting my christmas list.  There are many other things you can do to let someone know you care during the holidays.  This site has some great ideas for christmas on a zero budget.  She is the Prudent homemaker.  Her story is awesome as well.  Take some time and look around her site.  Anyway, I am real big into Christmas.  I love that time of year.  It is the celebration of the birth of My Lord and Savior.  I hope I can always do it up big, but that doesn't mean I have to go into debt or stress myself out over it.  It shouldn't be a burden that you look forward to being over.  Make this Christmas an blessing to observe, and serve  the one who deserves all Glory and Honor.

Monday, September 26, 2011

We are running out of wiggle room

Being in the healthcare industry, my husband and I have only felt the economy thru the higher prices at the pump and the grocery store, as well as thru the struggles to keep a job and food on the table of our daughter and her family.  They lived with us for about 8 months until her Dh was able to find a job.  She found a job as well except had trouble with her hours being cut again and again until she told the manager she needed to find a job with more hours.  At that point the manager cut her hours completely.  Nice.  She has since found another job, but won't get her first check for another three weeks.  So they have enough to just cover rent but nothing else like gas and groceries.  Needless to say she came over last night to "shop" from our pantry.  There is a reason to have a pantry.  No conspiracy theory needed, no "end of the word" scenario, no economic collapse except a personal one.  More than likely the use of a pantry comes in a personal way not a global one.  Yes, it is needed for things like a snow storm and you need things for if the power goes out, but more often than not your pantry will see you thru things like a layoff, either of yourself, spouse, or a member of your family.  You may be asked to give help in the form of food or money to a family in need in your community or church.  That is the more reasonable, practical reason for pantries.  I am glad that as a mother I can help my daughter in this way and she knows that maybe one day she will provide this kind of help to her children or someone in need.  While I am glad to help in anyway I can, it does take more money to replace these items now and I am rapidly running out of wiggle room in my current budgeted amount to refill said pantry.  In addition we have received a letter from the hospital we are employed with that has told us there is a chance we won't get our merit raises and they hope to not have to lay anyone off.  Those raises don't even make up for the increase rise in prices across the board, but they are some help.  I know beyond a shadow of doubt there are others worse off than we are, but this seriously curtails help we can give to other including family. This is something to pray about.  Jesus says not to worry about the things we will eat or wear.  The Father knows we have need of these, and if He will provide for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field how much more will he provide for us.  So this is something I will lay at His feet.  It is all I can do.  I will admit to feeling a little safer in this great recession due to the fact that we are in healthcare.  Our hospital serves 18 counties and is the anchor employer of our area.  For this hospital to now be affected gives me concern for this recession.  I will lay it at the Lords feet.  That is my first line of defense so to speak.  I will cut the corners I can, but in actuality, I am limited in what I can do.  That all being said, for those of you in similar or worse situations, there is a great website call  Her family lives in Nevada and her husband is a real estate agent.  Their income has dropped over %70 since 2007.  They have 6 kids.  She has wonderful recipes, tips, etc on how to fill a pntry and how to live out of one.  She also has tips on homeschooling, crafts, christmas ideas on a zero budget, sewing, etc.  Thses are all things she does to provide for her family with little or no money.  Hers is an amazing story.  Check it out. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

For Cary Ann and Teresa, and anyone else interested

Apparently I am unable at this time to comment on my own blog.  How wrong is that!  Anyway, Cary I wanted to thank you for being my first commenter.  YAY!  Now you will live on in infammy(smile).  Teresa, my recipe for cream soup mix is as follows:

Cream soup mix

1 1/2 cups dry milk
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 ts salt

mix all together then cut in

1 stick of margarine or butter.  store in an airtight container in the fridge.  To use for plain white sauce just use 1/3 cup mix to 1 cup of water.  If you want cream of chicken, use chicken broth, cream of muchroom: open a can of muchroom, s and drain, add water to the muchroom liquid to equal 1 cup fluid. Then follow the rest of the recipe.  You can also add 1 cup of cheese and 1 ts yellow mustard to make cheese sauce. 

One of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 139

To know that God knows my every thought, move, feeling, is an amazing an humbling thing.  He has known me since before I was born.  His thoughts of me are many and are wonderful.  This is a verse I love and yet somehow I have had a hard time grasping this kind of love.  But when you think of it, how deep is the love that would have sent His only son to die for us, and how deep would the love be of the one willing to go.  Even for me alone.  Even for you alone.  Read on and see that this verse isn't just for me, but it is to each of us.  All we have to do is accept Him.  His love is never ending, His faithfulness no no bounds.  His mercies are new every morning.  Can I  give him the same love?  Can I put him first in my life?  I am not perfect, and I will fall, But I will also try.

Psalm 139 vs 1-18

1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mothers womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
They would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just a little conversation and PICS!

It is a cool raineyhere in Ga.  On the roster for today is school for youngest, more housecleaning and organization, and making a batch of cookies.  Technically they are for DHs lunches, but they end up eaten by everyone eventually.  It is a good day to .  Highs in the 70s and a 50% chance of rain.  Nice. 
I thought I might show off my family while I am here.  This pic above shows off my men.  Not boys anymore.  From left to right is my DH, my youngest son (well call him rubic cause he loves solving a rubics cube), and then my oldest son(we will call him "Einsten").  This pic was taken on a walk up Anna Ruby falls.  If you have never seen it and you come to Ga, try to.  It is about a half mile walk to it and it is beautiful. 

This is my oldest.  This pic is a couple of years old.  She is 21 now, going to college, married and mother to my grandson who is three.  I have a more recent pic, but will post it at a later date.  She is my diva so we will call her Diva.  Isn't she pretty?  I think so.  A combination of beauty and brains.
So that is my family.  I couldn't be prouder.  We have had our ups and downs, but I love them all and Iam so blessed to have them in my life.  We are also the proud owners of three dogs and two cats.  I guess you could say I am a herder (smile).   I always joke that I am a true redneck.  When you come to my house you are greeted by the hound dogs and the cats are always jumping down from something.  I decorate in home canned goods and all things country.  Well I don't have any velvet Elvis, light up "Last Suppers", or collections of beer glasses.  I would say I go for the more "norman rockwell type look.  Here is a pic of my recent redo of my livingroom and dining room.

S0 there is a beginning of my life in pics.  I am hoping I can begin to post many more.  I am still learning all of this bloggin stuff. 
Not much to tell about my week so far.  I worked this weekend, but with the garden slowing down I don't have much to write about.  WIth the holiday season starting up I am hopeful I can get some crafty things going.  I want to make PJ for my kids, but that will be difficult with my youngest home all the time.  Humm.  Need to think on this.  I really do need to get to sewing.  So anywy, I hope to have more to post later.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Getting ready for fall

I already feel the dryer air and we have actually had some days in the 80s.  Today will be in the low ninties, but after today it looks like at least a week long stretch in the low to mid seventies for highs.  I love, love this time of year.  Cool weather means baking (not good for my waistline), but fun none the less.  Two days ago I made my first ever batch of english muffins.  In the middle of the process I had a light bulb (or should I say Duh) moment and thought I should take pictures to post on my blog!  So next go around I will do two things.  First is take pictures of the process so those of you that want  to know how can, and second, make the muffins larger.  The recipe was supposed to make 18.  Mine made 22.  I used a biscuit cutter to cut them out.  Next time I am going to just divide the dough into 18 pieces to make a decent sized muffin.  However, this batch did turn out really good.  I will use half wheat and harlf white next time as well.  Since this was my first try I wanted to make sure they had the best chance possible of succeeding.  Using white flour is easier to me anyay.  I know they reccommend using white flour to learn how to make bread so I just extended that to cover english muffins. 

Grocery day is Friday and I have plans today to get my fridge cleaned out and organized.  I also want to organize my refridge freezer.  I need to make my list and check it twice.  It is harder to get the good deals out there right now.  Hence the reason I am making our bread products.  Whatever I can make from scratch saves money to be used to buy other things that are still rising in price right now.  Items I make from scratch include: loaf bread, french bread, pizza crust, hamburger and hotdog buns, english muffins, cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, Cream soup mix (aka white sauce mix), chocolate syrup, pancake syrup, salsa, wheat thin type crackers, spaggetti sauce, cake mix, frozen biscuits, season salt, granola, yogurt and shake &bake mix.  There are other items I have recipes for, but these are the ones I make consistently.  It is an amazing savings to be able to make these things as opposed to buying them.  The ingredients are much less than the premade item.  Plus I know what is in it and that makes me feel good giving it to my family.  And dont think I dont have conveinence.  It takes seconds or minutes to make these things up and then I have them on hand.  I get the benefits of conveinence, but cost savings as well. 
I will be waking the youngest offspring momentarily so he can get breakfast and be ready to begin school.  This is the first normal school day we have had this week.  He had a mild asthma attack Sunday night, which kept him up, so I let him sleep in and we had a light day on Monday.  Yesterday was test taking and we had school at my mothers.  So today is back to the routine. I hope everyone has a great day. 

Psalms 104 vs 33-35

"I will sing to the Lord all my life;
 I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
 as I rejoice in the Lord.
But may sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.
Praise the Lord O my soul.
Paise the Lord"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Starting anew and with a new focus.

Wow!  It has been over a year since I updated my blog. Since then I have grown more beets!  LOL.  I have had a whole new garden.  Well, I have neglected this blog, but I am here to say I am here to stay.  I am changing the focus of this blog from previous ones.  For too long I have focused on prepping and self reliance.  Instead this blog will focus on God first.  Now I will still have the recipes, daily musings, etc, but my focus needs to be on God first.  In an economy and world that seems to be ever spiraling out of control, God is my rock.  I have neglected Him as well and I am here to say that is changing.  I have let fear guide me while still espousing Gods provision.  For that Father I ask forgivness.  I am instead going to rely on Him alone.  I still carry links to a few sites that deal with prepping. These are awesome ladies who not only teach preparedness, but also a strong faith in God, homesteading, child rearing, etc.  Check them out at http://www.ruralrevolution/ and http://www.paretusfamila/  Hello ladies!  Dont get me wrong.  I am not against preparedness, but in my case it is an idol that needs to be removed.  One day when I am ready God will guide me in what I am to do.  Until then my job is to focus on Him.  He has been on the back burner for way to long. 
Instead of rehashing the past year let me just say I still garden, have fruit trees now (yay), bake, and now homeschool our youngest.  My one regret in this is that I should have started homeschooling much earlier.  I let it intimidate me and I shouldn't have.  I was finally able to bring myself to recondition my shirley Temple dolls.  Here is my 18 in doll.  She was made in 1935.  The dress, hat, shoes and pin are original.  I had to purchase the socks.  Her face was painted, she was cleaned and restrung.  I inherited her as well as a 17 in doll from my MILs cousin who regretfully passed from pancreatic cancer. 
Next on my list is the 1940 all composition doll I reconditioned for my mothers christmas gift.  She was purchased on Ebay.  I made her outfit, had to totally repaint her face, restring her and clean her.  She has since been given shoes.  I love composition dolls.  Their faces are so sweet.

So that is my update.  I hope in a crazy world this blog will be a moment of peace to others.  I hope I am able to use this blog to uplift.  Sometimes we just need something positive to keep going.  I want to be positive.                                                                                

Psalm 71 vs 14-16

But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
of yoursalvation all day long,
though I know not its measure
I will come an proclaim your mighty acts,
O Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.