Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Big Wrap up

I can't believe it's finally here.  My last day at my away from home job is Monday.  I had my exit interview today.  Cleaned out my desk yesterday to make room for my replacement, and now am getting ready for the last hurrah on Monday.

When I tell you I work with some of the most precious people around, you can believe it.  From the office staff, nurses, aids, social workers, chaplains, massage therapists, musicians, bereavement counselors, and volunteers; all of these people devote their heart, time, and energy to each and every patient and family member.  I've watched them in amazement as they hold the hand of parents brave enough to carry their child to term and bring it into the world, knowing their child won't survive.  Parents saying good bye to a child young or old.  Children saying good by to their parent all too soon.  And through it all this hospice staff carries them through.  They are under staffed, over worked, and stressed, but carry on none the less because they are called.  Called to serve in a way many can't and/ or won't do.  I am honored to have worked with them and am proud to call each of them "friend".  The Bible says " a man makes his plans, but God guides his foot steps".  Each of us is placed where God wants us in every time in our life.  Sometimes it's to serve, and other times its to learn.  I pray I served God and others well during this time in my life, but I know for a fact I have learned from this experience.  I will miss them greatly.

Now I face another adventure.  I'm nervous.  Very.  Oh but so excited.  The challenge is put before me.  Not just to be frugal.  I'm not called to do that alone.  It's a part of who I am, but I'm still called to touch others in Jesus name.  To do so, my walk with Him must get closer.  I pray it will.  It will.  My youngest two children will be leaving to go on their own way soon and I don't want to miss the few years with them I have left.  They grow up all to soon.  What am I saying, they're already grown, but they're still home while they go to school, and until they go off on their own. I want to savor this time.  Another thing I've learned these past few years in Hospice is that no one is promised tomorrow.  I want to cherish everyday I have with my family.  So I'm excited.  Excited to start this new chapter.  This choice isn't for everyone, but it's mine and I relish what lies in store.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Wa, Wa, Waaaaaa

Very excited this morning to make bread again. So excited I was up at 4:30 making it.  Ever heard the term "have a hand"?  It's a term used when referring to a skill you have perfected over time and now comes easy.  Well the other side of that is to "Lose your hand" at something.  In other words, one becomes less adept at that particular skill due to a length of time not using that skill.  This is a long drawn out way of saying I am a bit rusty when it comes to bread making.  I haven't made bread in a long while.  Today's loaves taste good and make great toast, but not the pretty sandwich bread I'm used to.  Hence the title to my post.  It's just a minor set back.  We will focus on having awesome grill cheese sandwiches, or toast for breakfast for a few weeks until I get used to the bread making again.  It's a hard job but someone has to do it.  (smile).  In addition to the bread I made two pizza crust for dinner tonight and they seem fine.

Sooooo excited to be starting my last week in my outside the home job.  Nervous too.  It is a big step.  I have a peace about it, but it is a little unnerving.  I would say the planning has already started, but that would be wrong.  The planning started 5 months ago when we decided to take this step.  We have successfully lived off of Dh income alone for the past 5 months.  My income has gone to get other things paid off.  Now the rubber is hitting the road as we will be doing this for real.  Other planning started 5 months ago as well.  I would go to sleep and wake up planning what I would do when I have the time; from the garden, baking, sewing etc, to additional things like saving on electricity, groceries, water, etc.  My full time job will be to make the income Dh brings in go further.  In addition, I will be the main errand runner, chauffeur, accountant, etc.  I want my home to become the sanctuary it should be for my entire family (including me).   That is the desire of my heart.

One thing I'm not looking forward to is my yearly doctor visit in September.  This past year has been horrible toward my health.  I am up a few pounds, as are Dh, Rubic, and Einstein.   Between the guys having class, both Dh and my full time job, and having only one car for a while, there was very little time for health.  In addition, in preparation for leaving my job, our garden had to go in and we had to live as if we had only one income.  That took even more time.  The house suffered as well.  I can feel the difference in myself and I don't like it.  Come September 1st that changes.  We are all refocusing to a healthier lifestyle, and the house will get the attention it deserves.  Not sure if the changes in my health will be reflected in my lab results by the end of September, but I will know it is on the right track.  Was all of this worth it?  Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!  Would I do it again.  YES!  We knew going into this past 5 months it would be hard.  Now we get to reap the rewards of that sacrifice.

Update on my daughter and her family.  No big surprise the stay at home parent plan is working well for them as well.  She has told me there is even more money freed up than she originally imagined.  Both my daughter and son in law are finding they have more time for the kids and each other.  The kids seem more even keeled.  My daughter says she actually finds herself looking for something to do (and she is the working outside the home parent).  I have told her she needs to take up her crocheting or reading again.   It works!  I understand not everyone has the ability or desire to do this, but I will tell those who want to or can do this.  It works!  It can be done!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Big Reveal!

Okay, so real cool for me anyway cause I am hopeful this is helpful for my readers.  I've had readers in the past comment how hard it is to search for a recipe or other topic and so I hope this helps.

Notice just above the title of this post and you will see tabs for pages.  Each page contains helpful info from previous blog posts.  All, I believe, of the recipes I have posted over the years are now under the "Recipes" tab to make finding them easy.  Within that page I have divided the recipes by category.  Any posts I have done in the past of the tutorial nature are under "How To's" and the Country Store will contain all my Country store items for sale (sooner rather than later).  For now that last page is still under construction.  I'll be preparing the "Stock" once I'm home for good.  Really all of the pages are a work in progress because I will be adding to them as needed.

I really do hope this is something you guys will find positive.  Any feed back is appreciated whether is a comments about existing pages or ideas for new pages (cause that will be forth coming)


Saturday, August 15, 2015

We interrupted this blog post for a special bulletin

No real blog post today or maybe this week.  I am tweeking some things in my blog site which my readers may find helpful.  As soon as I have it set up I will reveal it!!!!  oooOOOooo very exciting!  See ya next time!


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Updates from The Ole Homestead

Yea, no lofty little tidbits of frugality to share.  This is just a post about the goings on in our little corner of the world.  Which reminds me of a joke:

God once told men he would place good obedient women in all four corners of the world.  Then He made the world round and laughed and laughed.

But anyway, I digress.

This past week I finally managed to can 24.5 cans of tomato sauce.  I also tried an experimental blackberry butter recipe.  It's pretty good, but the next go round I'll use 6 cups of sugar instead of 4.  Once I get this down, I'll share my findings and my recipe.  I still have about 1 gallon of blackberries left in the freezer so this will be soon I promise.

One of the temptations I have in the summer with the heat, canning, gardening, and this summer working full time; is eating out.  Not anything expensive mind you; Subway or Little Caesars. I am happy to say that while I have had a few lapses, I have managed to get dinner on the table instead.  Now dinner may be grilled cheese or waffles, but everyone has eaten.  Not my healthiest offerings, but definitely my cheapest.  Once I have more time, dinner will be less hit or miss and better for us. I did have one exception and that was today as the family went out and about thrift store shopping.  As a part of our excursion we stopped for an ice cream.  Aside from that we bought pizza and baked it at home for dinner tonight.

Our morning was spent finishing a remake of the old PVC coop using the PVC and poultry netting we had on hand.  The only expense was a bag of zip ties for putting everything together.  Yes we've separated the coops again and each one has its own run again.  With the addition of 4 new birds, our flock is now 11 and so the previous set up was getting more cramped by the day as the babies grew.

So there's the update in our neck of the woods.  Not anything great and lofty, but its all I have for now.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Domestic Tips Learned from "The Godfather"

I know right?  Who Knew! But it's true.  There are domestic things one can glean from watching this movie.   It's not only, as Tom Hanks puts it in "You've Got Mail" the "Movie equivalent of the I Ching--the epitome of wisdom.  If anyone has a problem the answer can be found in "The Godfather"".  Yes ladies "The Godfather" is not just for guys.

So what can you learn from "The Godfather"?  Well let me tell you!

1)  How to make an awesome Italian Pasta sauce to feed a crowd.  I got this recipe from The Food Network.  The comments in parenthesis are my own.

The Godfather's Clemenza's Spaghetti Sauce

"Come here kid and learn something.  you might have to cook for 20 guys someday"

Clemenza's Spaghetti Sauce

2 Tbs Olive Oil
2-4 cloves of garlic chopped (I would go for 4 cause I like garlic.  Keeps vampires and people away)
2 Large cans of Tomatoes
Tomato Paste (I would use a 12 oz can, but you may want to start with a 6 oz can and see if it is as thick as you like)
3-4 Italian Sausage links grilled and chopped
1 lb Cooked Meat balls.
1/4 cup Sugar
Red Wine (this is for cooking unless you've had a very trying day and then....well....)

To Make:

Heat the olive oil over med heat.  Add the chopped garlic and saute a few minutes making sure not to burn the garlic.  Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and stir well until a smooth consistency.  Add the sausages and  meatballs.  Stir to cover the meats well.  Add a splash of red wine (I said splash not glug) and the sugar to taste.  Turn down the heat and let simmer at least 20 minutes.  If you must salt, do so to taste.  Serve over noodles (Duh)

2) Never, never, never attempt to have a conversation on the phone with a crying baby in your arms.  Now I have to state that I valiantly, valiantly searched long and hard for a photo image depicting this scene, but to no avail.  Those of you who have seen "The Godfather" will remember the phone call in which Sonny finds out his sister has been beat up yet again by her husband.  This scene is the set up for Sonny's eventual demise and so I am shocked, SHOCKED there is no image anywhere on the net.  Anyway, the call comes in and Carmela Corleone (The Corleone Matriarch) answers the phone with a screaming baby in her arms.  She then states "I can't hear you the baby is crying" and hands the phone off to Sonny.  What cracks me up is she attempts to hear what the caller is saying through the screams of the baby.  Now disappointed as I am at the lack of image, my point is still made so...moving on.

3)  A Gardening tip!  How to protect tomatoes from Sun Scald!

I'm actually trying it this year.  I have had to cut  back some of my tomato plants.  All of the dead branches have been cut away, leaving only what has new growth.  The problem with doing this is that it leaves what tomatoes left on the vine exposed to the direct sunlight.  To mitigate this problem, I have placed a white cloth covering over my plants such as you see here.  We will see if this really works for them.  I hope so.  I really did get the idea of doing this from this movie.  This is one of DH favorite movies so I've seen it a lot.  Well I have to admit I like it too; the first two anyway.

I do have to admit I like these movies.  I like the era they are depicted in, the cinematography, just everything.  Well except the graphic violence.  It is a classic though, but now we can look at it from a totally new perspective; Home Economics.  Oh and we can't forget the most important tip we can learn from this movie.

4)  The importance of bringing home after work what your wife asked you to pick up.  Please!