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Archive for December, 2009

A day of breakfast, and crackers

December 31st, 2009 at 11:26 am

So for some reason we had oatmeal for breakfast and I felt like making French toast for lunch, now I am sorely tempted to make some sort of traditional breakfast food for dinner just to round out the day!

Also tried these crackers, rather easy, but kinda bland but then it is a cracker, what else would it be? Well I actually thought I could make them with some seasoning in the dough, like Italian spices or cheese or something. Maybe next week I will try again with flavor.

Can't be a health nut, I am a hypocrite!

December 30th, 2009 at 11:34 am

First off is that really how you spell it? (hypocrite)

Second, while I do aim for whole wheat, tons of fruit and veggies, more natural sugars, and healthier fats in general....

I am also munching on peanut butter mixed with powdered sugar (taste better than the inside of a peanut butter cup, and with a side of chocolate is a dreamy treat with little effort)

So while I go out of my way to pay more to buy bead made with 'real whole wheat' and no HFCS, I haven't given up my daily peanut butter, made with HFCS (I did try a few alternate brands, so far either way to expensive, or not as good, or both, will look again when money flows again).

And while I bake almost exclusively with honey, maple syrup, molasses, or at the worst brown sugar...I am also drinking a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade made with white sugar. Yes I tried other sugars, the above list doesn't work. (though maybe if you boil the sugar with some water then mix in the lemon juice?)

Oh and I bet eating whole wheat crackers with my 'summer sausage' doesn't cancel out the unhealthiness of it!

Which is why when anyone accuses me of being a health nut I have to hold back the laughter.

Ah well, it could be worse, I could be eating white bread, white flour, white sugar AND creamy peanut butter cup 'guts'.

But in general folk outside my family only see the healthy parts - for three summers in a row a friend of mine has been surprised that I eat doritos at a church picnic 'I thought you didn't eat that sort of unhealthy stuff?'. No I eat it, I just don't buy it. apparently a year of me bringing in whole wheat homemade goodies makes her forget anew that I am just as fond of junk food as the next person.

Money is much the same way, what others see may not be the full picture. I think to outsiders my husband and I do not come off as frugal (no matter how many eyebrows we raise at folk complaining of money while sipping on Lattes)

Publicly we are stingy church givers a dollar per kid or less, the real donation goes via the bank no one sees it but the person keeping track of the year expenses.

Publicly we are lavish in supplies for VBS, CS, GS, Co-op, and such, privately we raid each others stash (GS uses CS stuff all the time) as well as pester family/friends for supplies. Though we also will buy when needed, we generally stick with good deals, and skip the projects that were not good deals.

Publicly we host company more than once a month, which most folk assume is expensive. Privately we keep the trimmings basic, no gourmet finger foods just bulk apples, cheese crackers, and something homemade, with the occasional meal found cheap. And not one penny spent on decorations (we even use 'real' plates so we don't have the disposable expense)

Publicly we are 'green' tree huggers, and 'everyone' knows how expensive that can be. Of course many on this board know it is often cheaper.

And the number one reason folk think we are rich. I don't work, all America knows only the rich can afford to be one income families.

Even folk who have an inkling that single income can work, assume we are rich because I never complain about money. At no time of the month am I anxiously awaiting a pay check. Even now when we have no job, and some folk are aware of it, we still have no complaints. Oh sure I would like that unemployment to kick in, but generally I have bigger complaints.

I might have to look at our public habits to see if there is a way to advertise frugality. I seem to be good at advertising green amongst friends.

Cake for breakfast and creamy pasta

December 29th, 2009 at 11:44 am

I found a recipe for the creamiest pasta sauce I have ever seen, one that is rather low on fat I think.
creamy pasta Oh sure it says mac and cheese, but the end result was not cheesy, creamy yes, cheesy no. Though I think with better cheese, and/or no tuna it would be cheesy. Only trouble I burned the bottom of my pot, so going to have to try to cook it at a lower heat, and stir more. (the burn did not make the pasta taste bad.) -oh I also added green peas to round out the whole nutrition thing. I think next week I will try again with some onions (real) and pepper (black) for flavor.

I also tried soaking grains for breakfast cake while the end result was decent, I don't think I will be repeating in quite the same manner. by morning my 'grains' were one big solidified mass, I had to get a hand blender out to break them back into something mixable, I also had to use extra milk, though I did not have buttermilk, so that could effect the process.

Would you pay?

December 28th, 2009 at 11:01 am

For the past two years I have made simple cloth bags for my gifts, I don't have a lot, not even enough to wrap all my family, but they are easy and quick. I was wondering, if anyone would pay for one. If so I guess I can add one thing to my marketable skills list.

I looked on Etsy but didn't see anything like them on there (the ones sold tend to be very thin material, risking seeing through the bag, and have ribbon tie tops, which I think are not very 'clean' or pretty.

Course if I did try to make money on some, I would have to borrow a sewing machine, I am not that fast by hand. But I know a friend who would gladly loan me hers, maybe even go to her house to do the work, leaving the kids (and their interruptions) with husband.

I have seen many a price tag on paper gift bags for 1$, the materials for the cloth could be that cheap, but then would have to add, 20 cent listing fee (on Etsy) plus 3.5% to them if it sells, plus my time.

I could use some upcyled materials to make them cheaper sometimes, I already get more hand me downs than I know what to do with, and sewing a stain to the inside of a bag wouldn't be noticed (wrong sides get sewn together so you would have to rip out seams to see them) would be an earth friendly gift bag, Wonder if that helps or hurts sales.....

Not sure it would be profitable or not, even if folk would buy them. Also something my kids could learn to make quickly (all straight seams) - not that I would sell theirs as mine, but they could make the ones for the family and such (right now no one outside of my immediate family has ever received one, to afraid I wouldn't get it back!)

Not sure if I should keep thinking on it, or move on.

Would be a nice peaceful life

December 27th, 2009 at 11:20 am

So my husband was recently 'downsized' which is to say in a job where the bosses are constantly asking for permission to hire someone, he was let go.

Which means, I have had the best Christmas ever! No really, husband is home, he is helping with all the details of daily life, and we have plenty of money in the EF to cover bills for awhile, so worry is pushed off to the distant future.

Giving me time to wonder just how I could extend this lifestyle. Oh sure I could call up some welfare lifers and find out how to game the system, but...I can't in good conscience (darn ethics).

Unfortunately I have few marketable skills:
1. Teaching young kids, the general sale of is far to time consuming (never mind that my kids learn all the basics and then some in less than 10 hours a week, you can't sell parents on that, least not ones who pay well.)
2. Baking a small select number of healthy goodies, the quality of which is greatly effected by the number of interruptions my kids make. The govt regulations on the sale of said goods suggests only the rich and the criminal can make money that way.

Ah well. Maybe my husbands skills are more marketable?

Christmas memories from my childhood.

December 17th, 2009 at 01:02 pm

Can't say as I recall many presents.

I remember getting a lightbright, with a huge tub of pegs (used). And doll clothes my mother made, and a (used) chest that is in my sons room now. Plus some legos and books. Though I make no guarantee those were Christmas, could be Birthdays.

Oh and some combs...mainly I recall them because my brother and I discussed what it could be waiting for the allowed hour to wake Mom up...apparently our discussion annoyed Mom (was prolly not quiet) and we had to wait another HOUR. All because I thought the package looked like a bottle of wine. (Mom didn't believe in labels, she memorized who got what adding to the fun of guessing-including watching her guess Smile.)

Oh and the banana and kiwi (that fuzzy fruit was never meant to be put into felt!) in my stocking...Mom grew up with fruit in a stocking, only I never liked apples or oranges, so Mom found odd alternatives Smile. Actually stockings had a good deal of predictability (not a bad thing) toothbrush, razor once old enough (and allowed, that was how you knew you were old enough) some nuts in my brothers (I didn't like em), batteries most years, and in the toe a fruit.

That's about it.

On the other hand I remember making handkerchiefs for my grandmother, ornaments for folk, and various foodstuffs. I remember lots of fun decorating the tree, pouting because my brother got to help put the lights on and I never did. wrapping lots of gifts (dunno what they were but the fun of paper and tape remains). I remember always having to wait till after breakfast to open gifts, something I make my kids do!

I recall my brother waking me up-I never did on my own. And more recently my sons first birthday we woke him up! Well as recent as a 7 year old's first can be. I am pretty sure my daughter woke him last year.

I recall delicious potatoes and gravy at grandmas. And making the other Grandma's Molasses cookies, that have now become my signature Christmas cookie. I recall a couple batches of fudge that never tasted very good. (sorry). Though in my late teen years there was a fellow who made very good peanut butter fudge, and I ate plenty of that.

There was plenty of cutting out/decorating cookies. Though no gingerbread to my recollection. We made a log cabin out of pretzels one year though.

Oh and one of the traditions I miss the most is the minature train village at the Bhule science center (now Carnegie Science Center) It is in PA, and I live in NC, so never tend to see it.

So what of that do I hope my kids remember years from now? Mostly the tradition parts, no train to go see, but we have others. And no fruit or nuts in the stocking (though plenty of it around the house), but they do have one, and it does always have a toothbrush.

Everything worked

December 15th, 2009 at 11:36 am

Fudge was good.

Sloppy joes were more of a turkey casserole since I dumped cornbread(which was fine minus the eggs) on top with carrots and gravy (hey it was a use up leftovers dinner) -speaking of dinner, wonder what's for dinner tonight? Potato something?

Gingerbread was a bit dry, but that actually makes houses easier, so that worked out (even decorated in time with room to spare)

We survived the day at church for carol sing -saved song booklets for tonights pack party, managed the scout leaders meeting, survived doing three sessions for co-op (one leader too busy to plan her hour, one out with sick kid, and my usual) Thank goodness the 4th mom was ready with her music/art. (I can't even spell Tchaikovsky....)

And minutes done for leaders meeting, newsletter minutes away from completion...if only I had the GS stuff for tonight, but thankfully there are two other leaders and they really don't need me. Did manage to wash the church towels to return tonight, and the co-op ones.

Have to get healthy -ish food ready for tonight, and guess not going to manage fudge in time for leader presents, unless I kick husband out right now to buy some missing ingredients (there are limits). Maybe I should make more PB/honey fudge, don't think anyone is allergic to it? Can't do cookies no eggs (I know, no surprise there)

oh and I need a shower, plus tidy up the living room..think I will kick kids out of shower and assign the living room to them!

Oh and apparently according to my husband I am 'becoming more svelte' guess that new Wii game is good for me! (outdoor adventure, with a mat, lots of jumping some running in place and the like)

Now if only I could find the bottom of my desk, wonder if bills are paid? Thank goodness for online banking and auto drafts!

so just how much can you bake when missing all the ingredients?

December 12th, 2009 at 01:47 pm

Honey fudge: New recipe, No milk chocolate chips, no big deal, subbed semisweet, I don't tend to like my fudge as sweet as the recipe call for anyway. No half cup measure? Just as JC to tell me how many 1/4 cups makes a half...after she claims no knowledge tell her we can't make the fudge. Amazingly the answer comes to her. (result is still too sweet, might have to reduce honey)

Beefless sloppy joes: don't have ground beef, I have leftover turkey, so going to replace ketchup and the like with ....not sure, any suggestions? (turkey is still thawing)

Eggless corn bread:
ah well you know it isn't the first time, the lack of recipe might be bad though.

eggless gingerbread for a house: carol sing is tomorrow, so I need to make the 'walls' today, to be decorated tomorrow. For this one I looked for an online recipe. At first glance it seemed good lots of 5 star reviews, but then there are also a lot of 1 star reviews? I found one review by the staff saying they revamped it and added flour. So heres hoping the 5 stars are after the revamping.

If I drop one more ball someone is going to fire me.

December 9th, 2009 at 11:50 am

I very poorly juggle GS, CS, CE, Co-op, and Parenting. Honestly I can't even catch one ball much less juggle 5....

Last night was the GS Court of Awards, I was in charge of the newsletter and cooking info. Not only did I put off the newsletter till 3 hours before the meeting (which with google groups down I was unable to get photos for), I also never looked up the cooking info, so had to scramble to find it hidden in the paperwork during the parent meeting.

Next week is the CS pack party, again I need a newsletter, need to make sure proper folk have awards for advancement, and need to fund folk to bring snacks. Plus derby cars, derby rules need finalized and a CS leaders meeting run, with details of finances, a spring camping trip, and popcorn. Wonder if I reserved the FLC?

Tonight is music class and I am supposed to help with costumes for the pageant, I don't machine sew and I have no creativity, not to mention I have little patience with kids...So I really do not want to do it. I tried to quit the CE team, and was told 'nu-uh I am counting on you'.

I need to get the GS camping trip for Spring details together, as well as go to a roundtable Thursday (with covered dish for potluck). Need to get half a dozen folk to pick up their popcorn, as well as find out when the prizes will be in. Need to update a contact and health info for both CS and GS, need to figure out how to get grade 5 to stop skipping Sunday school, without getting myself into leading. Also need to decide if I want to talk husband into teaching highschool.

Need to figure out why the car wont start in less than 5 minutes (turn key, click, play with lights/air/radio, try again, repeat till it works) -yes we tried a new battery.

Need to figure out who has what for Christmas, wrap what we have, make boxes for the ornaments for Sunday school teachers, co-op folk, and pastors. Buy what we do not have, make ornaments with JC and some notecards or folders or something with the Daisy paper for some of her friends. Make pumpkin muffins and fudge for all.

Oh speaking of the co-op need to figure out what we are doing Monday, make a 'Rosetta stone', get the kids a new Latin lesson, and plan January science.

On an education note, might need to do a bit more math lately, plus UE needs some more reading help, and writing, Monday he said 'I can't write cause my letters are not pretty' poor kid.

Need to sew patches on several of my sons pants, PJs and jeans. Need to sew some wrappings for Christmas, and at some point finish some cross stitch. Also realized with company we are at a limit on blankets, so either need to get someone to make one, or make one (or more)

And my house is a mess, clean laundry is piled nearly eye level on the couch, while I snuggle under a blanket at the computer whining that I don't want to do it.

Maybe I need a kick in the rear more than juggling lessons?

Heat officially turned on yesterday.

December 7th, 2009 at 01:40 pm

Woke up to a 55 house, with kids all needing showers for church. Combined with the house guests we currently have I figured it was about time to turn it on.

Might have to think of a programmable thermostat though. Sleeping at 55 is not to bad, getting up is the trouble.

No heat, electric still to high

December 5th, 2009 at 11:49 am

Been chilly at night, but blankets and cuddling cure that problem, the only thing I wish we had was warmer sheets, nothing worse than getting up from watching a hulu episode cozy and cuddled to switch to a ICE COLD bed, though it does of course warm up quickly.

I also took to putting a blanket down on my youngest's bed rather than her cold sheet, if I don't want to leave the warmth of her for a sheet, cant see her wanting to leave me for it either!

Company coming tomorrow, so we may need to turn the heat on for them, or not they are from up north, and so far as I know not to unfrugal. Will have to see. Course sticking 4 more folk in my little house will heat it up already! If I bake or cook at all I may be wishing for open windows, happens all the time with company here, though I am never sure what they think of the temp.

Living in a varying degree house makes one a bit off on temperature judging. Sometimes I think my 'nicer' winter and summer wear is worn backwards, short sleeves in winter for visiting, and layers for summer!

So if you are ever at my house and I ask you if I need to open windows or turn the heat on, tell me honestly, I can take a layer off or fetch a sweater, but you prolly didn't arrive expecting anything other than a 74 degree constant.

Oh as to why the electric is high, seasonal baking and computers left on I think. Will have to work on the computers at least.

DC and cost of the Castle...

December 1st, 2009 at 11:17 am

Lux's post got me thinking about the cost of our place, we have a mortgage so it is quite a bit higher than hers.

Using round figures, cause I am nothing if not a lazy mathmatician...

house = $35 (mortgage includes insurance, and taxes)
utilities = $5 (electric, water, gas..am I missing anything?)
ETA: Internet = $1.50

so 43ish a night? Guess better than a cheap hotel due to the amenities, but not as lovely cheap as I could wish for.

On a slightly different topic, The scouts need a cheap place to 'spend' their popcorn earnings. I would like to do something fun/big and different from 'just camping' But the only idea I have that we might be able to afford is DC..cause that is free attractions, and you can camp fairly close to the city cheap, leaves us with travel and food that I think we aught to be able to afford. 20 -30 per scout for the trip...

Anyone have any other ideas?