Saturday, April 25, 2015

Now, If I could just master Bagels (Hint, make it yourself recipes to follow)

So here I am waiting on the batch of doggie biscuits to come out of the oven.  I lucked up today and did not need to make bread for the week.  Instead I just focused on making crackers and doggie biscuits. FYI, not the same recipe.  So I have completed the crackers and they are cooling, and the dog biscuits are baking away.  The dog biscuits are easy.  Once the timer goes off it is just a matter of turning off the oven and letting them cool inside.

Anyway, while I wait I thought I would share these recipes with you.  Enjoy:

Wheat Thin Type crackers

3 cups rolled oats
2 cups flour
1 cup Wheat Germ
3 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup oil
3/4-1 cup water
additional salt to taste

In a food processor, place all of your dry ingredients.  Pulse your food processor to mix the dry ingredients.  This will also grind up your oats some to make them less bulky.  After its mixed, continue to pulse your food processor while you slowly pour your oil in.  Add the water slowly the same way, only stop adding water when the dough forms a ball.  You don't want it too wet.  Divide the dough into threes.  With a rolling pin, roll each third thin, about 1/8 of an inch think.  I try to keep mine nice and square, but do it how you want.  They taste the same either way; square, round, jagged, etc. I also roll mine directly into a cookie sheet so I don't have to move them.  Once the dough is rolled out thin, use a pizza cutter to cut them into crackers. Sprinkle with salt and then lightly roll the rolling pin over them to mash in the salt.  Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 15 minutes.  Let cool. This makes equal to about 3 boxes of wheat thins bought at the store.  Cost me about $1.

Dog Biscuits

2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup dry milk
1/3 tsp garlic powder
1 egg
1/3 cup oil (or you can use bacon grease)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup water

In a mixing bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients.  Add the egg, oil, peanut butter, and water.  Divide the dough in half. Take one half and roll out to about 1/2 inch thick.  Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into the size biscuits you desire.  Place on a cookie sheet.  Continue until all dough is used.  Bake in a 350 oven 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and then let them cool in the oven.   This makes a little more than what comes in a box of milk bones at the store.  It cost me $1.05 to make.  Less if I use left over bacon grease.  A 1 1/2 lb box of milk bone type biscuits cost $1.49 at Aldi.  This makes a little more than 1 1/2 lbs.  I make these after I have already had the oven on to make something else so no preheating and I am done when I just turn the oven off.

So there you go.  make it yourself!  And to reiterate my previous statement, If I could just master Bagels, my life would be complete.  We will see.  But until then, enjoy these recipes.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

My Goals

Lately I have shared how we are, and have, paid off our car, lived off my husbands check alone, and lowered my grocery bill.  I have also anticipated the repair of my hubby's truck, and the pay off of our last credit card.   There is a method to my madness; an ultimate goal  in mind.  Many have already heard my goal, but I am sharing it here for posterity.  

Drum Roll Please!   Barring any unforeseen circumstances, my plan is for December 10 to be my last day at my work outside the home job.   There!  I said it.   Now a lot can happen in the next 8 months,but that is my plan.  I have budgeted and planned and budgeted and planned.  I have included large once a year expenses like Car tags, Christmas, Car Insurance,Vet bills, etc.  It's covered. I have made sure our savings is covered.  And most importantly, since all provision comes from God and it is His to begin with, this budget will honor Him first with what is His to begin with.

So I can see the furrowed brows and the question marks over your  head.   Being a stay at home wife and mother is understandable if you have young children, but Frugalmaven, your kids are older.  Why would you choose now to stay home?  

I have been blessed in the past years when it comes to earning a wage.  For a while my husband and I worked opposite shifts in order to have our children home with at least one parent.  Later I owned and operated an in home state licensed daycare center. This allowed me to earn an income yet we were home with our kids on the weekend and I was home during the week.  This allowed DH and I to see each other in more than just a "passing in the hall" way.  Which was nice.  After the daycare closed, I worked part time.  I say I was fortunate, and that was true, but that fortune came with a lot of hard work.  Over the years I have worked hard inside the home in order to lessen the time spent working outside the home.  This year has been different.  This year I have been working 32+ hours.  Understandably working a full time job makes it difficult to  do the things at home to save money.  It's easy to grab a pizza after working all day.  It is hard to go home and make something from scratch.  Not to mention  by the time you get home and get dinner ready it is later in the evening.  That is one example.  Things are going to go by the wayside in one area when your focus turns full time to another.  If you work full time outside the home, inside the home becomes your secondary or part time job.  The same can be said in reverse.  Here's the thing I have realized over the years.  Benjamin Franklin was right when he said "A Penny saved is a Penny Earned".  I am not taxed on money I save.  I am taxed on money I earn.  Dh and I realized my part time income threw us up into a different tax bracket.  This year, had we only had my husbands income, and all else was the same, we would have gotten $1800 in a refund.  Instead we were socked with owing $1000 in addition to the taxes already with held.  That was only Federal.  We pay state taxes here.  We owed there too.  With our debt gone, we are at a place where I can stay home to save money while DH earns outside the home.  All of this can be accomplished without any reliance on a government subsidy and without having to pay a ridiculous tax bill.  I say ridiculous not because of the amount of the bill, but on how our fearless leaders spend.  Anyway, politics aside, since Dh full time job will then be outside the home, he will no longer have a job to be concerned with at home.   When he is home he can relax and enjoy all of his time off. The advantage for me is that when Dh is home I will be finished with what I needed to do at home each day and can actually have time with him, my kids (before they move away), and for myself.  Because  my full time job will be at home, I will be able to focus all of my energy on the items I love to do anyway and save money as well.  What is the saying "if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life"?  Well there you go!  In addition, the things that I have had to put aside like sewing, crocheting, even gardening will get to be addressed. All this will make for a happy hubby, happy wife, and since the household chores will be taken care of while the guys are at work or school, happy kids.  Its a win win.  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A look into my Buggy

So a few weeks back I mentioned a Dave Ramsey video in which he mentions you will spend less when you use cash because you "feel" the pain of the money leaving your possession.  If you haven't read it, you can get to it HERE.

Anyway, as a result of using cash and watching what I spend, I will end up being done with my monthly grocery shopping and will have spent almost $100 dollars less than normal.  This means my budget for this month so far will be $300.  In case I don't bore you enough, here is my grocery list.

20- Half Gallon Jugs of Milk-  Kroger had these 10/$10.  Aside from making yogurt or Icecream, I mix the milk for drinking half and half with water.  ***not recommended for children under 2***
10- 16 oz containers of Sour Cream-These were on sale for .79 ea.  I use these not just for topping dishes or potatoes, but for making home made Ranch Dressing.  I bought the ones with the latest expiration date and unless in current use, they remain sealed and upside down in my fridge.
7 lbs American Cheese
6 lbs Cheddar Cheese
6 lbs Mozzarella Cheese
1 Parmesan Cheese- My sons love it on Pizza
1 Lb Pepper Jack Cheese
28 lbs Sugar
5- Dz Eggs-  One of our hens was brooding so egg production fell off.  Kroger had these on sale for $1.25.  I also had a coupon for 1 dz free.
25 lbs Bread Flour
10lbs  Whole Wheat Flour
3lbs Wheat Germ
2- Ham's for .99lb
4 lbs Boneless Chicken Breast
1 bunch Green Leaf lettuce- Spinach is starting to come in so hopefully this is thelast lettuce to buy for a bit.
1- Coffee 33.oz
1- 60 oz Powdered Coffee Creamer
8- 48oz bottles of Oil
14 lbs Tortilla Chips
3.5 lbs Pretzels
53 lbs Potatoes
6 lbs Onions
3-Lg Bell Peppers
2- Fresh Broccoli Crowns
Curry Spice
Ketchup- the large can at Sams.  When I open the can to use, I re-seal the ketchup in canning jars by putting them in a water bath canner for a few minutes.  I leave one jar in the fridge for use.
16 lbs Salt
Worcestershire Sauce
3- 32 oz bottles lemon juice
1 Gal Mayo
-2 Celery bunches
4 lbs Baby Carrots
-5 12 oz pkg Choc Chips
21- bars Soap
12- Tooth Paste
12- rolls Bathroom Tissue
2- Shampoo
5- Laundry Soap
3- Bleach
1- Amonia
1- Dish soap
1- Dog Food - 55 lb bag
Cat Litter- 42 lb bag.

Not an overly exciting list I grant you.  This is just this month.  My list varies depending on what needs replacing at the time and what is on sale.  Now before you say "GOOD GRIEF WOMAN!  How much flours, oils, etc do you need?"  Please be aware that I shop for the month.  I keep a pantry, and I make from scratch a lot of what we eat.  What I don't buy, but we still have anyway are Ice Cream, Ranch Dressing, Pancake Syrup, Pizza, Cookies (mostly Choc Chip), Granola, Wheat Thin type Crackers, Yogurt, Choc Syrup, Lemonade, Hamburger buns, Loaf Bread, French Bread( pretty much uh Breads!).  In the past I have succumbed to the  lure of store bought cookies, chips, breads, but I am striving to do those things myself more often than not.  I recently cut out potato chips because it takes a lot of chips to satisfy a young mans appetite and that is a large expense.  If we have chips it will be a special thing and I will make them( that's the plan anyway).  Mostly we have oven fries.  It is a rare sale that is good enough to ever see canned veggies on my grocery list.  It happens, but not often.  I would need to get the cans at least 3/$1 to warrant it.  There is a method to my madness.  Every penny I save can go toward the repair of Dh truck, the pay off of our last credit card, extra on the mortgage, or to savings.  I know Dave Ramsey says you need to eat beans and rice and rice and beans, but I don't know if I am prepared to go that far.  But as long as I am able, I will cook and/or shop this way.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Hope I have

"But Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be always ready to give an answer to every man who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" 1 Peter 3:15.

I've been asked in the past what it would take to make me no longer believe in God; more specifically Jesus.  Why do I believe the way I do?  I can tell you for me personally it is the presence of Christ in my life and the change it has brought.  But that doesn't "Prove" His existence.  To each his own I guess.  My facts would be belittled and labeled "wishful thinking" by some.  I can tell you this for a fact.  My faith could only be shaken if presented with the actual un-risen body of Jesus.  You see my faith is not contingent on how the earth was created, or if we evolved or not.  My faith rests in a risen Savior.  

"But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.  If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied." Corinthians 15:12-19.

The above referenced verse was spoken by Paul.  A man who once persecuted even to the death those who followed Christ, but whose conversion was so great he later gave his own life for Christ.  Would 11 of 12 disciples give their lives (violently) for a hoax?  My Dad made a great point one day at a family dinner.  If you were the disciples then and you were wanting to perpetuate a hoax, knowing how the culture was back then, would you have had the first announcement of the Resurrection made by a woman?  Interesting thought. 

I need no reason to prove Gods existence.  I know what I was.  I know what I am now.  I know what He brought me out of.  The love it took to come and die, the power it took to rise from the dead, and the grace that is offered to me (and you) still.  That is the reason I serve him.  That is the reason for the hope I have. 

This Easter, as with every Easter, is special for me.  More special than when I was young.  You see, it is because of Easter that I am who I am.  Christmas is great because He came.  Good Friday because he died for me (and you), but Easter!  Easter is when HE ROSE!  And that makes allllll the difference.