Saturday, September 26, 2015


Whew! After having to order a new battery for our digital camera ( and it's working very well thank you very much!), make all of the items I sell (Well except for the doll clothes.  They will come later), and make pics of everything, I finally have my store page complete (for  now).  I will add other items as they come along, but it's a start.  I hope you enjoy the page.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Delayed but not forgotten. The belated update.

I know, I know.  I'm posting my weekly (which technically is supposed to be daily but...) blog post.  I'm late,  but there was a good reason.  We were somewhat lazy today.  Laid around drinking coffee, eating breakfast and , if you can believe it, watched some old Loony Tunes Saturday morning cartoons.  Once we dropped Rubic off at his job we went to a local city festival to see what we could see.  Some cute booths.  It gave me some ideas of how to set up my own booths one day soon.  We ate totally bad; a corn dog each,  lemonade, and we shared a funnel cake.  I know.  It's bad, but we were at a fair!  I mean that's the norm for a fair right.  We were tempted by deep fried Oreos, but stuck with a funnel cake cause its what you eat at a fair.  I have accomplished a little house maintenance, but it required very little.  We are also having homemade pizza for dinner so there is that.

One other thing we did today was to head up to Lowes and pick up some mulch for the yard.  This week, with the house pretty much under control, I have turned my focus to the front yard.  I wish I could have a picture of what it looked like before,  but lets just suffice it to say it was bad.  I have two flower beds in my front yard.  Both were so overgrown with weeds you couldn't see the flowers underneath.  The first bed took me 5 hours of digging, pulling, turning under, replanting etc.  I literally could not move by the end of the day.  Day two was about the same, but since this bed was smaller it only took 3 hours.  I have also put edging (that I already had on hand) around both beds and am putting mulch down to hopefully keep the weeds down next year.  My rose bushes have been freed from weeds, fertilized as an apology, and watered.  My knock out rose bush has had all the dead blooms removed, pruned some, and is happy as a clam.  I trimmed back around the base of the house, shed, and fence.  My house no longer looks abandoned.  This past year my only time had to be spent in the vegetable garden which left the poor flower beds neglected.  With more time, I can now focus on my yard.  No longer am I mortified for someone to come over.  Joy!  I told Dh I am bucking for the cities "Yard of the month" sign.  (Smile).  I still have more to do in the front and then my attention will turn to the back yard.  I really want to get things cleaned up before the temps get too cold.  Right now it's beautiful weather and a joy to work outside.

There's a method to my madness.  We are able to refinance our home and bring the interest rate down to 4.125 from 7.9 %.  This is awesome.  We have never been where we could refinance our home because we live in a mobile home.  The newest company that has our mortgage does refinance mobile homes!  We are going to keep the payment the same and pay this bad boy off early.  Our Goal is 10 years instead of the 15 we have refinanced.  That will coincide with DH retirement.  As part of the process we are having the house appraised.  I want everything spiffy so we get a good appraisal.  It's a personal thing for me.  It won't affect our refinance, but I want to have as much equity as I can get in our house.  So anyway, next week will be a whirl wind.  I have the appraiser to follow up on, a handy man coming out to estimate some repairs we need to have done, I am to follow up on a money market account for our emergency fund, as well as my other projects.   I must say i'm not bored with being home yet.

So, I don't know if I mentioned this before, but we have been having an ongoing difference of opinion when it comes to our state tax man.  Back in 2012 I failed to send in the Schedule A for our itemized deductions.  Totally my fault, and that set in motion a "you owe us" and our response "no we don't" situation.  I can now say that we have finally received the all clear and we don't owe.  I submitted everything they said we needed and they are satisfied.  It took HR Block to finally call them and say "Just what do you need".  It's amazing how fast things get resolved when you speak to an actual person.

Frugality has not gone the way of the do do in all this activity.  I have been able to keep up with bread making and other baking.  Our only eat out escapade was today's fair.  We have been keeping up with our budget and watching our power and water use.  The cooler weather has helped in that we can now go without the air conditioner for a few days.   I've been able to do some much needed mending which is great because it has just been accumulating.  

So that's all the update from my neck of the woods.  How are things with you?  I would love to hear from you.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The art of the remake.

Have you noticed how lately Hollywood has this desire to remake movies rather than create something new.  Now in the case of movies I'm like "been there done that, move on", but there really is an art to remaking or re-purposing something.  Today I speak of recreating something new from leftovers.

LEFTOVERS!!!!  No one wants leftovers!  But you would be wrong.  People do want left overs....they just don't know it yet.  The idea is to let nothing go to waste.

1) So you only have a spoonful of green beans left in the pan.  Keep a container in the fridge and place all your leftover bits of veggies.  Once full it becomes veggie soup.  I usually match the meat to the broth in the veggies.  If I used chicken bouillon in my veggies initial preparation, then I will add chicken and make chicken vegetable soup. The same goes for beef and ham.

2)  1 Cup of leftover ground meat, a left over meat patty, left over meat loaf, etc, becomes the ground meat used in chili or spaghetti.  A piece of left over chicken is used in casseroles, or chicken pot pie.

3)  Left over mashed potatoes become voila!  Potato soup.  I chop 2 celery stalks and 1 med onion and cook them in 2 cups of chicken bouillon.  Once soft I puree them in the broth then add 2 cups of mashed potatoes.  Mix well.  If your soup is still thick add a little milk to get it to the consistency you want.  Once you have it to the consistency you like, add chives, cheese, sour cream and hot sauce! Salt and pepper to taste.   Serve with a crusty bread.  YUM!

4) Left over egg/milk from making french toast becomes the egg and milk needed in muffins or other baked good.  May have to add a little more milk, but it works.

The idea is to rethink your leftovers and not throw them away.  Tonight we're having chili and I did just what I normally do.  I had leftover taco meat and it was used in the chili.  Turned out well.  Compliments all round.  What recreations do you perform?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Re-thinking my options

Did you read that title and think I was re-thinking being home?  NO WAY!  SO far so good as they say.  I am however re-thinking how I do things.  Let me explain.

There is a little fact out there that no matter your income, whether $30, 000 or $100,000, the normal family will live paycheck to paycheck.  In other words, your bills will rise to meet a pay increase.  It takes a lot of discipline to keep that from happening.  Mainly because it happens without our being aware of it.  We get a mentality of  "Oh I will go ahead and get that cause I can afford it now", or "I can splurge a little cause I have this extra".  Sometimes it's just the fact that because you have the money to buy something new, you never consider just fixing whats broken.  That is where I am now.  Even with living off DH income for the past 6 months, we still had the cushion of my check.  As a result, if we needed something we would buy first and think later.  Now, while ends meet and then some, we know our income has been cut a lot.  It's changing my mindset.  This past week I have rethought 3 different needs.

1)  We have a Sony Cybershot digital camera.  We've had it a while.  Currently duct tape holds the battery/memory card compartment closed so it can function.  Not aesthetically pleasing, but functional.  That is until this week.  Now the battery has died.  My first thought was we needed to by another one.   Those cameras right now are about $100.  More than I want to spend at this moment.  I need the camera in order to get my "Frugal Maven Country Store" set up.  DH's MP3 player takes pics, but not very clear ones, and our cell phone is a cheap pre-pay.  I really didn't want to spend that money right now.  We have greater priorities.  Then it hits me.  Can I replace just the battery?.  Well it turns out I can.  In fact the battery, shipping and all has cost me $5.77

2)  We have lived here for a little over 19 years.  We have the same mailbox we had when we came here.  The box itself is faded, and the post is slanted back some and so when it rains the mail gets wet.  Our first thought was to buy a new everything and replace it.  Now I'm not saying we won't replace everything, but before we do, we're going to dig it up, see if the wood post is still good and if everything is still good, I will re paint it and we will re install it instead of replacing it.

3)  I called our cable company this week to cancel our HBO.  We don't watch anything on HBO and so didn't need to be paying the extra $10 a month.  While on the phone with the customer service agent, I asked about a basic cable plan.  Well, if there is ever a time when you may cancel service, the "promotions" come out of the wood work.  I ended up saving $30 a month, with the exact same service we have now, just in a promotion.  Good for a y ear, but at the end of that year I can call and if the promotion is still in effect we can re enter the promotion.

4)  Not really in the repair mode, butt definitely in the rethinking options mode;  We turned off the AC yesterday (yay) and went to put box fans in the windows to cool the house when needed.  Problem is two of our box fans were no longer working.  These I can't fix and so we had to buy two more box fans.  Yes and initial outlay of money, but it will pay for itself when our power bill is less.  Anyway, last night Rubic tells me his fan didn't have a power cord in the box.  Now I'm looking at having to turn the AC back on so he can sleep and making a trip back to the store to exchange the fan.  Then I think about the broken fan.  Sure enough the power cord from the broken fan fits the new fan.  Problem solved, the AC stayed off.

My point is to rethink your options.  Regardless of your income.  The splurges, thoughtless purchases, and "I'm worth it" expenses can keep you from your eventual goal especially if that goal is transitioning to one income, retiring, or paying down debt.  You can "Nickle and Dime" yourself out of success.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

So how's it feel to not work?

Hmmmmm.  One thing I've noticed is many people understand the idea of staying at home when the kids are little.  I mean those are the formidable years right?  Not to mention the cost of daycare is off the chain!  They would be right to think that way.  There is a greater need to stay home with small children.  We managed over the past 22 years of marriage to either work opposite shifts with my being part time and Dh being full time, or my staying home while simultaneously running an in home daycare.  There were, aside from the advantages, disadvantages to both.  Opposite shifts meant Dh and I saw each other in passing.  We might have had a day off here and there but for the most part it was "Hi and Bye".  In addition, what work on the house that I accomplished when off was not maintained when I was gone to work.  No ones fault.  Dh had his own things to care for.  The daycare was some better except I had a houseful of kids (11 at the highest, counting my kids) Mon- Fri.  Needless to say running errands were few and far between.  That meant Sat was the day to clean, grocery shop, etc.  Not much time for fun stuff.  I always felt pressured for time.  When I was somewhere fun it was at the cost of something being left undone that week.  I know I should have been able to let that go, but lets face it, in this day and age you are supposed to be a super mom.  I'm not.  Right or not, that was my feeling.  I 'm grateful, don't get me wrong, for the ability to work from home or work part time over the years, but even doing that meant I was working a full time job at home and a part time job outside the home.

Now I'm getting to be home and yet my kids are older.  I say all this to say there are more reasons than young children for one parent/spouse to stay home.

 1) When one person stays home and takes over the management of the home, it takes that weight off the other spouse/ parent enabling them to focus primarily on their job.  All errands, doctor visits, chauffeur service, etc falls under the home management title.  I won't go so far as to say which of the team needs to be the stay at home designee, but whoever has that distinction needs to understand this is a full time job as well.

 2)  It is more cost effective.  So daycare isn't needed anymore.  We never used that to begin with except for a short time when my oldest was a toddler.  What I'm talking about is less gas used, less eating out, less convenience food, fewer taxes owed.  In addition this frees time up to meal plan, bake, shop smart, garden, etc.  These things save money.

3) Stress reduction.  Not all schedules have to be hectic.  Because there is a parent whose schedule is open and flexible, things fall into place.  The house stays better maintained, whoever needs to be where ever happens much easier..  Especially in our case where we have two sons in technical college with differing schedules and Rubic has a job after school.  The stay at home parent handles all business dealings in regards to the home finances or home maintenance.

4) More time for your marriage.  I work around and for the home from the time DH leaves for work and until he comes home.  I take breaks just like he does at work,  When he is home from work, I am done for the day.  Well excepting dinner prep and clean up.  When Dh is home from work, he is done for the day,  He can come home and enjoy the down time to ready for the next day.  In much the same way, because I addressed what needed addressing that day,my day is done and I can enjoy needed down time.  Great thing is we can enjoy that together.  Our weekends are now our weekends.  We can go somewhere, or not, up to us.  We have the time.

Now I will put in this disclaimer.  Anything that is greater than an 8 hour day is a shared responsibility for both parents.   For example, Dh is off today and so technically so am I , but there are still things that need to be done.  These become the shared responsibility of both of us.  I cooked breakfast and he saw to the chickens and fed the dogs.  He's also going with me to a friends house to help feed their animals while they are out of town.

I have been home for the past 4 days.  Shock of shockers my house is being put back in order.  I have 2 rooms left to clean and organize.  Then I will address the outside.  In addition, rooms I cleaned on Tuesday have been easily maintained through out this week even though I have been focusing on other rooms.  Each morning I am able to go over the previous days rooms and make sure everything is in order before turning my focus elsewhere.  I've been able to run errands, walk, read my Bible (Gasp!), sew, etc without feeling the pressure of time. Today we will be going out as a family to have a little fun.  The plan is to have a leisurely breakfast, go check on my neighbors animals, and off we go possibly to some antique shops because youngest son wants to look for vinyl records.  I'm looking forward to it.  No thoughts on what is left undone.  If something still needs doing I have Monday.  My focus is time with my family.  I love it.  Dh says he's lovin it.  My sons are amazed at how nice and clean the house is.  Less stress for everyone.

I'm home now because I can be.  Debt kept that from being a possibility until now.  "The borrower is slave to the lender".  The choices we made to get into debt kept an ideal situation from coming to fruition.  Our own fault.  Had we stayed out of debt from the get go, this could have happened a long time ago.  If you are in debt, get out.  If you aren't in debt, stay out.   Best advice I could ever give.