Thursday, September 26, 2013

Are You Paitent?

This is my right hand.  I am right handed.  The injury is a pulled tendon in my hand between the last two fingers.  

How did I do this?  Pulling laundry out of my front loader washer.  I Know!  So crazy!  It was a load of jeans, and I was on the phone, and I did go to pull them out one handed without bending over.  I also didn't know that the jeans were tangled big time and very stuck.  I did this three weeks ago yesterday.  I am healing slowly and still hope for a full recovery without a surgeon.  Tendons can take quite sometime to heal.  This has been so painful, so frustrating, and such a learning experience.
It's funny because I had been complaing to my husband that I could never get anything done.  There was too much and I was feeling overwhelmed.  Well this has made almost everything clear from my calendar and lists of have to do now.  The first week I couldn't stand to move any of my fingers or the pain would be just awful.  So my daughter ( who just graduated from cosmetology school) did my hair and make up for me every day.  My family pitched in, in the kitchen and with the laundry and other chores around the house.  We decided that we would give all the produce in the garden away and that I would do no canning.  My husband took over paying the bills seeing how I couldn't remotely write anything that some one could read.  We've managed I'm dong much better....what has this experience taught me.  Well Patients.  So much patients.  Everything takes longer to do when you don't have the use of both of your hands.  Even something as little as wanting a slice of cheese and not being able do slice it your self and then have to wait for someone to do it for you. Constantly tring to do something but  finding out I couldn't because I really needed the other hand.  (I'm so not coordinated with my left hand.)  But what a gift to have some time to reflect on my life, my goals, and things that are most important in our family.  To re-prioritize things.  Some things really don't matter.  There is always tomorrow to get this or that project done.  We truly  create the crazy or the peace in our lives. 
I came across this quote and loved it. 

My family was great in taking care of me and the house.  I realize it was a lot more for them to do.  As long as I kept a good attitude.  They did.  Our Attitudes are so important to our well being.  Having a positive attitude is essential if we want to be happy and have peace.

"When life gives you every reason to be negative, think of all the reasons to be Positive there's always someone who has it worse."

There is a woman we know, that a few years ago she had a bad reaction to some flu shots and lost the use of her hands.  She can't move her fingers.  So all that fine motor skill she doesn't have anymore.  I have thought of her daily.  What strength and determination she has had to learn to do things a different way.  To be patient and positive.  I will heal and regain full use of my hand.  She really has no hope of that now because its been several years.  

Sorry to be rambling on...I just wanted you all the stop and reflect on what really matters in your lives.  What do you really want to have.  Attitude is everything.  Not matter what happens, God has a plan, there is always a lesson to learn.

Keeping It Simple

Friday, September 20, 2013

Update on the Summer Chores


Just thought I would give you a little update on how our summer chore chart went....

I LOVED IT!   Now did my children do every single chore? No.  My older children who worked full time this summer were not home much and did very little around here.  My younger children did quite a bit and even picked up some of the older kids chores on occasion.  We started off the beginning of the summer great!  The first two weeks the kids pretty much did all they had to do.  Then the summer camps came and they feel out of habit.  They had made some money, Which the younger ones thought it was alot, and the momentum slowed way down.  The older kids told me they make more working why should i have to do chores here...You know how that whole thing goes.  So why did I love it?

Well first of all it held everyone accountable.  My older kids were alwasy complaing that they were doing everything whikle the younger ones did nothing but got everything.  We proved who really was pulling there weight and helping out.  So no more arguments on that topic is a huge score for mom.  
Secondly when it came to do that back to school shopping everyone had there amount of money they had saved, some very little, and there was no arguments shopping.  When they ran out of money they were done.  Even my big shopper daughter that has to have everything and is good at getting her mom to cave in didn't argue in the least.  She did have the most to spend,  she did the most, made a lits of must have's for herself and got it all so she was happy.  Mom and Dad were happy too!  Third the budgeting of there money went great.  they learned to wait for thing they really wanted.  They learned what happens when you spend on a bunch of little things and how that adds up.  It was great!  I will say this wouldn't of worked if we hadn't stuck to the rules we made at the beginning of the summer.  If my husband or I would of caved in on those bad days or gave them more money i  the end so they could have all there wants, this wouldn't of worked.  What's even better is that the kids loved it!  I asked them how they felt about still continuing to do chores this way verses how we did them in the past and they all voted to continue. So we are still using the chores list with a dollar amount.  THose that are up to doing the work they get the money for it.  Those that don't get to stay home with me every friday and saturday night seeing how they don't have movie money.  

I love when I try something new and it works!

If you want to check out my original post about this, check it out... getting-ready-for-summer

Keeping it Simple

Monday, September 16, 2013

Onion Cheese Buns

Ok, these sound like they are going to be slightly more difficult than what its worth.  BUT they are so EASY!  You take the French Bread Reciepe and make rolls out if it.  So Good!  I was asked to bring rolls to a funeral so I made these,  because I didn't want to make a run into town just for rolls.  ( I live 20 minutes from a Grocery store)  Again this is from my friend who is thrifty and is always coming up with some new reciepe with one of her favorites.

Don't these look like they came from the Bakery or what?!  I heard they were a big hit at the dinner.  My family enjoys these.  If I'm all out of buns, (I try and keep buns in the freezer for fast go to meals) otherwise I will make these. 

Homemade Onion and Cheese Buns 
Mix and set aside until bubbly:
½ cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp yeast

Mix the following together in a mixer:
1 Tbsp Olive oil
3 Tbsp. Sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups HOT tap water
1 Tbsp. Dried Onion Flakes

Add yeast mixture to above ingredients, mix well.
Add 2 cups unbleached white flour. (this will be lumpy).
Add 3-4 more cups unbleached white flour until you have soft should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff (I add in 3 cups of flour and then add in more flour in 1/4 cup intervals until you have a nice soft dough)
Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl and let rise for one hour.  
Punch down every 20 minutes.

Punch down and then divide into 12 pieces
Shape into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet and let rise 30 minutes. 
Slash top of each dough ball with a serrated knife and brush with beaten egg white.
Top with grated Parmesan & Asiago Cheese (or whatever cheese you would like)
Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (35 minutes)

Keeping it Simple

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Grandpa's Dutch Oven Cheesy Potatoes

I love summer!  I love the warm weather and beautiful sunshine.  I love all the family gatherings that take place in the summer.  One of my most favorite things is my Grandpa's Dutch Oven Cheesy Potatoes.  Grandpa makes these for our Fourth of July festivities every summer.  The are rich, creamy and oh so good!  I've had a lot of Dutch oven potatoes over the years and no one else's compare to these.

Grandpa has had a battle with cancer this last year so we didn't expect any potatoes this summer.  So grateful and excited that he is doing well. I wanted to make sure I had this family favorite written down.  It seems to me the "old" recipes that have been passed down are always the best. I hope you enjoy one of our family favorites.

Grandpa's Dutch Oven Cheesy Potatoes

For a 10 inch Dutch Oven, (Double for a 16 inch)
5-7 lbs of Potatoes
1/2 lb of Bacon, cut and cooked
1 can cheddar cheese soup
11/2 cups grated cheese
2 medium onions
1 sq. Butter or Margarine
Salt and Pepper

Heat Dutch Oven.  Cook Bacon until Semi-crisp add onions, cook until transparent.  Add Potatoes Season with salt and pepper.  Stir-if sticking add some water.  Cook on low heat until done.  Be careful not to over cook.  You don't want it mushy.  When spuds are done stir in soup. Top with grated cheese.  Cover with lid and leave it covered until cheese is melted.  

Keeping it Simple

Monday, September 9, 2013

Purchase a New Car lately?

My teenage son did this.  If you have a teenage driver you know the stress, worry and money it takes to ''let" them drive.   The one phone call you don't want is, the report of an accident.   This accident was my sons first accident.  He's had his license over a year.  It was minor. No one got hurt (except his car) the other driver and his pickup truck were fine.  This did total this car of ours.  He was sad, we were sad, but so grateful no one was hurt.  Cars can be replaced.

My husband and I now had some decisions to make regarding a new car purchase and how we were going to let our son "feel the consequences" of his accident.  One rule we have before the kids get there license is that they have to have the insurance deductible in there savings account.  If the have a job they pay for there own gas, we are providing the car and paying the insurance.  If the kids do not have a job then we have given them a gas budget.  If they burn through it fast then, oh, too bad I guess you are staying home friday night.  If you have an accident then you will now have to pay for the increase in insurance.  A second accident or many tickets, You get to pay for it all, the car, insurance, and gas. This really has worked well for our family.  Having a drivers license is a great privilege and responsibility.  It isn't a right everyone in society is given.  We want our children to understand this and appreciate this.
We live 15-20 minutes out of town, and my son does have a job so he needs a car in order to keep it. So we knew being down a car was going to put a lot of stress on mom running him back and forth.   So we began searching for a new car.

Buying a new car can be stressful.  Everybody wants to get what they want, and they want it to be shiny and fun, but reliable and affordable.  So what is the best way to approach this large purchase?
I thought I would share what we have learned over the last 21 years that we have owned a car.  In that time we have owned a total of 11 cars.  We've made some bad purchases, but we have learned from them.  Our last several (5) purchases have been great deals and nice dependable affordable cars.  However you can take this information and use it or you can not...just thought I would share.

You always want to start with a budget.  
A realistic budget.  So sit down and go over your finances before you even start looking at vehicles.  You are going to determine how much money you have for a down payment.  Are we going to have  a car payment, if so what's the amount you are comfortable with.  I like to have a range.  For example I 5-10,000 dollars was my range for a new car purchase.  We have 4 drivers in this house and depending on what I found would depend on who was going to drive the car.  I have room to shuffle things.  

Next call the bank.  Check around for who has the lowest interest rates and what they are.  Taking note of older cars will have an higher interest rate than newer cars.  Also most of the time a Car Dealership can get you an even better rate than the bank.  DO NOT have them run your credit or have an application open for this.  You are still in the information gathering phase.  You are not certain what you are going to do yet.  If you know however, that you don't want a larger than 200 dollar car payment then ask questions like: " 5,000 dollar loan with a 200 dollar payment at the current interest rate would take how long to pay off?" Or, "A loan for a 10,000 dollar car on both the higher and lower interest rate.  That is the payment?"   Once you have an idea of  the numbers then we shop.

I shop for cars everywhere.  The side of the road, Craig's list the thrifty nickel, online, and at dealers.  I start looking to see what's out there.  I make lots of phones calls and start weeding things out Based on year of vehicle, amount and mileage, and if the car has been wrecked.  

Then I find out all I can about the cars I like.  
So I'm looking up on line at reviews. I'm finding out what the car is worth..not what the people are asking but what the car value is. You can do that by calling the bank, checking on Edmonds or Kelley Blue Book.  YOU NEVER, NEVER want to pay more for a vehicle than what it is worth.  NEVER!  Always find out how much the car would be if buying brand new too.  Why?  Well its a good thing to know how fast the car is depreciating.  How much is this car really going to cost you to drive it.  I also like to call the insurance company and know how much the insurance will be on the vehicles we are looking at.

Then we test drive.  I am a have to see, touch, feel and hear kind of gal.  I will not purchase a car sight unseen.  To high of a risk for me.  (I do tend to be picky!)   I want to look at the car.  I want to see all the nooks and crannies.  You cant tell a lot about how well the car has been maintained by the condition the car is in.  It's a great feeling to go test drive a car that you know all the specs on.  How much it should be worth how much the insurance will cost.  The reviews.  All this information will help you to decide if you really want to proceed or walk away.  The dealers don't like informed shoppers. They can't get the money out of them that they would like.  They also don't want you to leave.  They know if you go home and do some research , it will be a lot harder to sell the car to you.

Then Next,  If I like then car I always take it to a mechanic to have a peek at it.  In this case that is my Dad.  Find someone who knows a lot about car motors. Not the mechanic at the dealer you are trying to purchase the car from.  Not the sales person either.  Someone whom you trust to give you an none biased opinion.  They should be able to tell you what the most common problem that piticular engine has.  Not all engines are equal.  There are a few vehicles my dad has told me to run from.  

You have to consider the mileage on any car you purchase.  Mileage does matter.  Around town with lots of stop and start mileage is harder on a motor than a vehicle that has been out on the highway.  How do you know if the car is highway miles or town miles?  One of two ways.   The first is if you can find out the story of the car.  Who's been it's owners.  Second look at the body of the car.  Town driven cars have way more door and body dings than cars that have been mostly on the highway.  Above all remember mileage is wear on the car.  A car that has 150,000 miles on it obviously has more wear or more worn out than a vehicle with 50,000 miles.  Keep that in mind especially if you are taking any kind of loan out on the car.  A great question to ask if you have to take a loan is ..."  How much more life will this car have when I'm through paying it off."  Ideally any car you purchase you want a long life and no car payment.  

Then if you found the car you love.  Go home and sleep on it.  If everything still looks great the next day..proceed to purchase your new car.  

Something that's happening right now with used cars is they are over priced.  Most cars we looked at were 1,500-2,000 dollars over what the car at the most should be worth.  No one was that willing to come down at all either.  So keep looking!  Be smart!  Sometimes think out of the box a little.  There are some great deals on new cars.  Some dealers still have brand new 2012's sitting on there lots with the 2014's soon to arrive.    In this case we bought Dad a new car and shuffled.  We were going to have to spend $10,000 dollars on a car that had over 100,000 miles on it and take a loan at the 4.8 percent...NO WAY!  So we upped the budget bought a 2012 with 30,000 miles at 1.8% for 6,000 dollars more.  It's not the color we wanted but the numbers, mileage, and everything else ticked off the list.  In the end it was a better purchase for us.

Good luck in your next car purchase.  Biggest thing...DO YOUR HOMEWORK on it.  NEVER make a blind car purchase.  Shiny wheels are great..but what's under the hood and in that pocket book is what really counts!

Also when thinking about the car loan Dave Ramsey, Suzie Orman and many other financial advisors, advise to always pay the car off in three years or less. 

What have you learned about purchasing a new car?

Keeping It Simple

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Homemade Pickles

What a busy time of year!  Harvest season is well underway.  I love all the fresh produce coming out of my garden.  My family loves homemade pickles.  It's a recipe that has been passed down a few generations on my husbands side.  His father is one of thirteen children.  They lived about 20 minutes outside of a small town on a small farm.  Growing up they had a huge garden, a large orchard, and many acres of raspberries.  Having such a large family Grandma had to do all she could to feed her family.  Of course during that time many families did the same.  Now a days we can find anything we want at the store and obtain it very easily.  Not many of us have gardens anymore.   Those of us that do, do it because we enjoy it and we love the taste of food that's been home grown and preserved with love.
I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Everyone I know, loves it.

Grandma's Homemade Pickle's
Cucumbers (smaller ones are best, leave them whole)
Pack the cucumbers into wide mouth mason jars.
The put 1 heaping tablespoon of dill seed into each jar.
Add 1 tsp of mustard seed to each jar.

Boil together
1 3/4 cup of water
1 cup Apple cider vinegar
1 heaping TBSP of salt
This makes enough liquid for more than one jar.

Pour over cucumbers.  Seal in water bath for 10 min.


Keeping it Simple