Tuesday, May 29, 2012

cheapest family

Previously I wrote about the blog "Living on a Dime."  I felt that it was a good website that sold a product, but also was generous with ideas, tips and recipes for free.

Another website was suggested to me, Cheapest Family of America.  While this is a slick website/blog with a lot of information on it, I left disappointed.  Yes, there were a ton of free tips, but these tips tended to be repetitive and sent in by various tipsters.  Many were just a twist of a previous tip and makes me wonder if every tip gets posted?

Then there was the blog itself  where many of the blog posts, after a scintillating first few sentences, could only be read by paid subscribers.

This website was too slick for me to feel comfortable subscribing, both because of the lack lustre tips, but also the constant up-selling.  What if I subscribed and then was told the continuation of a blog post could be found in one of their books?

I realize that The Cheapest Family in America has been seen on the Dr.Phil show and Good Morning America.  I wasn't able to see either broadcast, and may-be the books that they have written and pushed are great.   I don't know.  I'm only reviewing the blog site, which I found very disappointing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Small Appliances

How many small appliances do you have?  Without thinking too hard about it, I can think of five in my kitchen without having to think too hard about it: coffee maker, hot water kettle, toaster, microwave, rotisserie and I have more in my cupboards.  And I have had many that haven't been deemed worthy of moving with us: small waffle iron, ice cream maker, pressure cooker.  It might sound funny, but I would happily give up my microwave oven too.  I use it mostly for reheating, and I don't like the soggy way most foods come out of it preferring to use a non-stick frying pan and pot cover.  It's not as fast, but the quality of the food coming out is so much nicer!!!  Plus, I don't like the way using my Corning Ware and Pyrex in the microwave makes them shatter instead of break over time.


 Would you give up your microwave?

Among the small appliances that I have and would buy again are:

1.  Hot Air Popcorn Popper, with the caveat that the popcorn doesn't shoot out of the machine, which no matter how careful you are to have a bowl under it, still sprays the area and floor with popcorn. 
2.  my bread machine is worth every penny.  True, I don't use it everyday anymore, but it is so easy to use and foolproof, that I know that anyone in my family could use it.  The bread machine also gives you the option of replacing some of the wheat flour with oats, rye and many other flours that are being made available these days.

3.  My husband didn't like my sandwich maker, so when it wore out, it wasn't replaced.  I am thinking of replacing it now that my kids are adults because of how quickly you can make an omelet in it, without having to stand over it like you do when it's in a pan on the stove.  Also the pizza pockets made with tortilla's are delish, as in pretty much everything you put into it EXCEPT cake and brownie mixes which I think are complete yuck!
      In this same class are the donut makers , which we bought my daughter for Christmas and have been very pleased with.  It turns out a bunch of mini donuts without tying up the oven or making a big mess to clean up after.

4.  It does take up a lot of room, so it sits in my dining room, but I love my rotisserie!  It makes the best rotisserie chicken and roasts.  I can use it to cook that night's dinner, or I can use it to cook dinner for a later night, while I'm using my conventional oven.

5. I love my slow cooker for days that I am not feeling good.  I just need to spend about 15 minutes to brown meats and vegetables in a frying pan on my stove, then dump all of it into my slow cooker with about a scant cup of water, and bullion cube, cover on medium and dinner is ready that night with no more effort on my part.

6.  My husband has a big orbital mixer, but it is too heavy for me to drag out so I love my powerful, little hand mixer for the smaller jobs like beating eggs, mixing pancake batter etc.

What are your favorite small appliances?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

potpouri

These are what is left of the tulips after the neighborhood deer decided to have them for a night time snack.  Do I like deer?  Mmmmm, not so much anymore.

Yesterday was national "Take Your Child To The Park And Leave Them There" day.  This is a grass roots idea by American parents that feel like today's children are not given enough independence and are hovered over by their parents way too much.  So the idea is for parents to bring their children to a pre-picked park at 10 am, offload them, and leave for a half hour, hour or two hours - whatever feels good to the parent.  This way, the children can join together for independent play without parents micro-managing everything.

I say the same thing can be done by parents simply sitting on a park bench and reading, which is what I always did.

If you are worried about your child being thirsty, well don't be.  Children are always hungry or thirsty, they can be that just as well unsupervised in a park.

Anyone ever here of dehydration or heat stroke?

Worried that your child might get hurt and need help?  Well being alone in the park will teach them how to go to a totally unknown person to ask for help, teaching them self-reliance and independence.

Who this kindly, unknown adult will actually be, I don't know, because presumably, all the parents will be gallivanting for an hour or so anywhere except the park.

Abductor or pedophile anyone?  And just think, on this holiday they don't need candy or a puppy! The child comes to them!!!!

But heavens, don't worry, child abduction is at a 40 year low!!  What is the reason for that do you suppose?  Do you think that humans have just evolved in the past 40 years to be nicer people?  Or do you think cases like Etan Patz (still missing since 1979), or Adam Walsh (dead) changed society, making us more observant, more vigilant and much less trusting?  May-be the statistics need to be interpreted a different way.

And yet, for all that vigilance, we still have had Sandra Cantu (kidnapped from her street in 2009, found dead about a month later), Shawn Hornbeck (riding bikes with friends on a dirt road, kidnapped 2002 and recovered 5 years later),  Jaycee Dugard (2001 from her bus stop, recovered 18 years later), Jorelys Rivera (2011, kidnapped from apartment complex playground, found raped, beaten and murdered).

Lastly, as my husband says, if the child that is taken is yours, the statistics don't mean a thing!

What do you think?

Some other blogs and what they think:
http://lerheims.wordpress.com/tag/national-take-your-kids-to-the-park-and-leave-them-there-day/

http://articles.mamaslatinas.com/parenting/102987/i_would_never_leave_my

http://reason.com/blog/2010/05/22/its-take-our-children-to

http://www.whattoexpect.com/blogs/daniiigrlinsidemymindbeware/parenting-methods-take-our-children-to-the-park-and-leave-them-there

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Needed: Magic Pot

  It has become painfully obvious to me, what this family needs is a magic pot.  A pot that you could place on the stove with moderate heat, throw in a couple of chicken breasts, a cup of water, a handfull of vegetables and abra cadabra!!! A dinner acceptable to every family member is ready in a half an hour.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Old Foodie: Light-bulb Moments and Solar Cookery.

I just had to share this post from this blog.  They were being frugal even in the 1800's!

The Old Foodie: Light-bulb Moments and Solar Cookery.: My recent post on Simulated Baked Goods stimulated a little email and blog correspondence. It clearly triggered childhood memories for a fe...









A Visit to a Back Yard Farm

My son is more disturbed than I am, I think, about the book I just recommended to you called "Slaughterhouse..."  He has just about eliminated meat from his diet.

This morning he got up early and drove about a mile to one of the local back yard farms that own about a dozen hens.  He got to see the hens, see them foraging through the yard - pesticide free, thank-you - got to see their hay filled, flat, clean nesting boxes and saw their feed - corn and wheat free.

He was very impressed with the cleanliness, the health of the chickens and the feed.  It was like what we had when we had our own backyard farm in South Carolina.

Even at the early hour, the woman was almost out of fresh eggs and could only sell my son 6 of them for $4, not an astronomical price.  You would know if you raised hens yourself how much time goes into cleaning the hen house and keeping the bedding clean and how much organic, pesticide and anti-biotic feed costs.

His omelet was delicious!! You can not believe how much tastier, how much yellow-er it was!!  Truly this is the wave of the future and the end to anemic yellow-ish eggs and cruel treatment to hens that must sit in a wire box, on a slanted floor all of their life.

In fact, if I did not have active cancer, we would have our own little hen house again.  I miss our chickens!!

Above all, cruelty free

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Living on a Dime

   As long time readers know, this blog likes the themes of  re-use, recycle, and frugality so you can imagine how thrilled I was to find the blog Living on a Dime !  The main theme is frugality, and after spending literally hours on the site, I find that I agree with most of the advice and ideas.  The site is written by a mother - daughter team that have experienced hard times and generously share what they have learned to get through them.  Through it all, you will not find one ounce of self pity.

    The duo has written a few books, available as hard copy books, or as e-books including a housekeeping-recipe book and a grocery shopping book, but unlike other sites that I have encountered, the ladies don't hoard all the advice in their books and use their site as a come on to buy their books.  The site has advice columns, recipe sharing, ideas on how to save money from the family finances and even house keeping tips.

    The ladies were asked, what is the best way for the family living paycheck to paycheck to start saving money?  The answer was the same as the advice that I've been giving: stop eating out!  Have an idea of what supper is going to be that morning, or if you can make a weekly menu, know even a week or more beforehand.  Have suppers waiting in the freezer for nights that you are too tired or home to late to cook supper.  Remember my advice of making a double sized dinner a few nights a week, serving one and freezing the other?  At an average of spending $50 or more for a family of four to get a fast food dinner, imagine your savings!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Just Disgusted

My son is reading this book: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Slaughterhouse/Gail-A-Eisnitz/e/9781591024507

He told me about it and I read some of it.  I am shocked, disgusted, disheartened, teary eyed and in no state to talk about it.

If  you have any ideas on what actions the average American can  take, please share them.

My Poor Garden!

      Way back when the weather was cold, the days were dark and the ground was brown and cold, getting seed catalogues gave me a feeling of hope. 
       One day, the ground would be warm and green, the skies would be blue and the sun would shine warmly on the earth.  And by gum! If I wanted a garden come summer, I'd better pick the right seeds now!
     So I did.  I picked a packet of indeterminate, old fashioned tomatoes that would mature in colors of red, pink and green.  I picked gourds that I could make into birdhouses later.  I got a precious packet of about 8 seeds for large pumpkins.  They aren't the huge ones that you see winning weight contests, but about as big or a little bigger than the first pumpkin that I ever grew in my life, which was in last years garden, and pictured on some of my blog posts.  I bought green beans and they sent me a bonus packet of vine peaches, which I never heard of before, and a type of tomato that grows on 10 ft high stalks.
      In April, I put some of the seeds in a special doo dad that you can buy for the Aero Grow.  Some grew weakly, some didn't grow at all and some grew quite well.  But I'm thinking, maybe I planted them a little too soon, because the tomatoes became leggy despite pinching them and the stems are none too thick.
      So now we are in the first week of May, and I've transplanted them.  They are not looking too great.  I didn't take pictures, but just imagine a bunch of leggy, limp plants.
      For all my planning,  I might be actually buying tomato plants at Lowes this year.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Daybook Page In May

From my window - rain drizzles down the window pane.  Looking further, the woods behind us are a lush green.

I am reading - Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.  Before that I was reading Sleeping Murder by the same author.  Before that I read Claws and Effect by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown, a Mrs.Murphy Mystery.  Mrs Murphy is a striped tiger cat.  These are very good books despite a cat being one of the main characters. This is the second book I've read of the series.  Before that I read The Distant Hours by Kate Morton which I really whole heartedly recommend.  Distant Hours is a modern Gothic, Victorian novel set in the 1990's - so modern times.  The author has written another book, titled something like the Secret Garden or the Hidden Garden.  I plan to find that book also and read it!

I am grateful - as always for my family.  I pray that God blesses them for everyday of their lives!

I am angry - that I have a beautiful flower garden in my front yard that the deer find absolutely delicious!! They come in the early morning, and when their indelicate chomping wakes up my daughter and she yells at them, they don't leave!  Humans hold absolutely no terror to them, and my flower garden has some ragged leaves and stems without flowers!!!

I can hear - snoring from our 8 year old Lab Louis, who is fast asleep on the floor near me.

I can smell - nothing!  No scented candles, no air freshener, no doggie farts.  Sometimes nothing is good!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It All Started With Liver Pate

   Have you ever tried liver pate?  Probably not.  The liver pate that I am absolutely in love with is made by Sells and comes in this easy to remember red and black can.  I'm sure the can hasn't changed in looks since I was a kid and my mother introduced me to it.

Liver pate doesn't have a great reputation among modern folk.  We mostly are chicken and beef eaters, with the occasional foray into pork.  When was the last time you ate lamb?  For most of us, the answer to that question is sometime in our childhood when our mothers made it for some holiday meal.

I've had a real hankering for Sell's Liver Pate, but my husband had been unable to find it in any of our local grocery stores.  So I went on the Internet to see if I could find a store that carried it.  That's when I came across a wonderful blog called Daves Cupboard and a blog all about Sells. 

The next day I came across another wonderful blog called What's Going On at the Mother House.  It reminds me of another blog about natural living the I like called Homesteading on the Internet, but for the life of me, I can't get back to the Mother House blog.

I've searched and searched.  I've found a lot of blogs that haven't been written on in literally years.  I've come to realize that the blog-o-spere is a vast, vast universe of blogs; some brimming with life, some holding on and some that are just dead-as-a-doornail.  Getting there on your own is a crap shoot unless you have a live link.  Without being on many bloggers blog list, your blog is but a twinkling planet out in deepest, darkest, coldest space.

Sociable

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