Sunday, November 30, 2008

How to Grow...

...to be 200. Wow. This is my 200th post. Who new it would take only 5 months. Certainly not I. I didn't realize I had that much to say. Well maybe I did, but still: 200?


...Rhododendrons from cuttings.
I have been meaning to take cuttings from a Rhododendron of ours that is sort of dying, but which we wanted to move to a new location. Enter cuttings...why not propogate them over the winter months and plant the new seedlings (so to speak) where we wanted to move the old one to? So here is the link I found for starting a rhodo from a cutting...and now I have 7 going, all with little baggies over them, hoping for some rooting action!


...and say more with less.
It sounds good anyway. Since my last post, I've been working full time at a temp job in a hospital social services office. I absolutely love it! It's a step in the direction I want to go. I also spent a week getting to know my month-old nephew in Baton Rouge, Louisianna. What a precious joy! Even while we where there, he grew a little fuller in the face and began to get a baby tummy. Loved it! We had to deal with some in-law stuff, but that's life, right?

Our trip down took 28 hours. We drove straight from 6 am one day to 10 am the next. It only cost $240 in gas round trip. Add an oil change, we're still only talking $280. my in-laws spent $350 each on plane tickets. I say if you're willing to spend the time, and you enjoy driving, why not? We had a great time along the way and I LOVE driving, so it was the perfect choice for us. I have to say though, leaving first thing in the morning is best because we ended up leaving Baton Rouge at 11 am and getting home at 3:30 pm the next day. Basically took up most of both days. I guess it makes a big difference where those four hours are placed!

Turns out, my SIL is dealing with yeast/thrush with the baby. Interesting how these things come up and we can share our experiences, huh? It was great to be able to cook for them, hold the baby, sing to him, read to him, etc. The joys of everyday living. Can't beat it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A good thing

It seems incomprehensible to me that my last post was just two days ago. It seems like weeks have gone by in two days. I still don't have a job, but I am getting my confidence back and feel really great about my prospects.
One thing I noticed was I think I still need meds for my depression. Yes, I can control the environmental forces and my own thought process which tends to work against me, but there are indeed chemical forces going on as well. I have been able to see the warning signs and correct them before they get full blown. Except I stopped taking my meds Sunday and by Wednesday I was on the verge of snapping at my poor hubby before I realized I was totally loosing it. Thursday the same thing happened. Thankfully I caught it before I really did snap at him, but I made sure I picked up my meds and started taking them again.
I feel better already and I know it's not because they are already effective, it's just the easing of my mind, knowing that I'm getting back on track. It's a good thing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Confidence

I didn't get another job I'd interviewed for. Confidence is waning.
Oi.
I seriously didn't think it'd be this hard to find another job. Now I'm back to responding to postings with hours and locations I'd rather not do, but, well, I need a job.
I'm currently looking for temp work so I don't have to settle for a permanent position I don't really want to take. I figure I can do anything short term. But back to working until 6 from a half hour away from home? Isn't that one of the reasons I left?!
Oi.
I'm finding out a lot about myself. Like I have more control over my depression than I ever imagined.
And my concept of self is way more linked to employment than I ever imagined.
And I'm liking staying home way more than I ever imagined.
But how to take all that into consideration...quite a chore indeed.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I don't even know what to call this post

I had a bit of a meltdown last night. Yeah. Not pretty.

It's late, we're in bed, and I reach for something on my nightstand and knock over the water cup. I was fine as I picked it up, but then I crawled back in bed and just started sobbing.

I think it's partly prepping for our friends to move in. It's partly the havoc of still not having a real front door, having to climb a ladder to get inside, not even having a set place to put my stupid keys, for pete's sake!

So anyway, it's like the perfect storm. So much upheval. And it's been going on for so long. I mean, I haven't had front steps for two weeks. Seriously. That may not sound like a long time, but try climbing a ladder with groceries, laundry, and anything else. Getting ready for interviews in a nice outfit only to step out the door and climb down a ladder.

So I have my meltdown and my hubby just lays there. I think he wanted to comfort me but he can't lay on that shoulder since his accident. But no words, nothing. Then I stop after about twenty minutes. Seriously. I think it's the longest meltdown I've ever had.

And he gets up. Goes downstairs. At this point, I'm thinking...he couldn't get up and walk around the bed and maybe give me a hug, but he can get up and go downstairs. Then he goes outside.

He goes outside ladies! Seriously!

We'd been out shopping for a door and window earlier in the evening and there was a funny noise coming from the wheel well, so he goes outside to check it.
After I had a meltdown.
At 11:15 at night.
Without a word of comfort or a squeeze of the hand or a hug.
Nothing.
He goes and checks on his truck!!!!

Does anyone else see why I'm freaking out here?!

So I've been thinking this morning. You know, it's mostly about our friends moving in. Yes, I've had about a month to prep. And the house will be in order in time. Maybe not the whole thing, but it'll be ready for them.

What I'm freaking out about is twofold. One, they are very neat and orderly and the guy is pretty outspoken about how he wants things. In his own home, he takes care of the kitchen because he just has to have it spic and span. That's not gonna happen in my house. I mean, it's not going to be "just so" all of the time. Two, they are very neat and orderly. So is my husband. So I feel like it's three neat, orderly people against me...housekeeping's worst nightmare. I exagerate a bit. But not much. I appreciate order. I work well when things are how they "should be," but it doesn't happen on a regular basis.

It seems like all my life, my mom has "joked" about how I'm not so neat. They called my room growing up "the swamp." It hurts. Sarcasm isn't a joke. It's not funny. Does it make me want to prove them wrong? Totally. But do I think I can? Never.

I'm also afraid this is the begining, warning signs of a depression. What do I do? I've got to get outside myself.

So what can I do, while I'm supposed to be finishing up prepping the house, to get outside myself? After I finish yelling at this fly buzzing around me, of course. Seriously. I'm totally at my whit's end.

Well, tomorrow is a delivery day for my furniture project with the church. I still need to finish up coordinating that effort. Sunday I'm on my own again coordinating the greeters for the day. We're supposed to have three leaders, but it's just me right now. So I guess I don't need to search long for things to do to get beyond my own problems.

You know, I recall talking to my counselor awhile back about how I tend to have depressions after major stressful events. I'll be fine during the event, like when we were evacuated due to threat of a flood, but afterwards I fell to pieces. I've been out of work for a little over a month now and it's both shocking and a major victory for me that I haven't gone into a depression yet. But all it took was me being locked out of my house and then responding negatively to that. It took me an hour and a half yesterday to get myself back into the house, then I decided to lick my wounds, so to speak, and treat myself to some me-time. I cruised the web, had a nice leisurely lunch, vegged out for a wee bit. Not exactly "getting outside myself" type of activities. So I guess it comes as no surprise that I had the night that I had last night.

Does it make it any easier today? Actually, it does. It shows me that it's not everything else, it's my reaction to it. I'm still in control. It can still be traced back to my choices and decisions. And it tells me I can't just blow off the house, I have to be mature about this and finish the job. Darn it. {wink}

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thrifty Thursday: It's all about attitude

I was going to call this piece "Cheap vs. Thrifty." I got to thinking about all of this saving money and using what we have, not creating unneccesary waste, etc. this morning. Let me back up a bit.

Yesterday I found a pre-formed store-bought pie shell in the back of my freezer, but it was all cracked and in pieces. I put it back in the freezer in my re-organization frenzy, but continued to think about what to do with it.

This morning I decided to experiment with the crumbled and cracked pie shell by adding it to some of my canned grape pie filling and seeing how it turned out.

So it's not wasted, and it's hopefully going to be enjoyed immensely!

Alternatively, I recall an incident last spring involving my mom and my korean sister. Hyung was going back to Korea to be with her real family for the summer and there was a medical bill that needed to be paid. Mom wanted Hyung to bring it with her on the plane, but Hyung's parents said to hold on to it until they decided what to do with it. A week later, they asked mom to mail it to them. She was all upset about how she could have saved 90 cents by sending it with Hyung in the first place! I mean she obsessed over this for weeks! {sigh}

What's my attitude like? Am I obsessing about saving money? Am I getting irritable and generally a pain in the rear about it? Or is it exciting, an adventure, something I'm taking pride in? When I can't save money, or find that I'm forced to waste money (like throwing out bad meat,) is it the end of the world? Is that 90 cents going to make or break my day?

I'm obviously trying not to be like my mom in this and many other ways. I've begun talking about my "mother issues," and I'm sure you can read even more into this than I can at this point. But it's not all about her.

This summer I found myself obsessing. Trying to force my newfound thrifty practices onto my hubby, and it wasn't pretty. But I think we've settled into a "lifestyle change" and are comfortable with how things are going. He's now used to using rags instead of paper towels. He doesn't mind that we only have one box of kleenex in the house. He gets the importance of checking the circulars and unplugging unused appliances and electronics. It's now "normal."

Sunday we'll be doubling our house occupancy when our friends come to live with us temporarily. Fortunately, they both are quite frugal and non-wastefully minded. If that's a word. Now it is. It won't be quite the shock to their system to see us using rags because they've spent a lot of time here in the last few months. But I always have to ask myself if I'm obsessing and making more of a deal out of this as it needs to be.

Thrifty is good. Cheap is obsession. I don't want to obsess. Please tell me if I'm obsessing. Seriously. I'm obsessing now aren't I? (Just kidding!)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Come on in, sit down, can I get you some tea?

We've got a lot of catching up to do, huh?

Well, first of all, take a look out the window. Aren't those colors gorgeous? The trees in my backyard are changing so beautifully. It reminds me of peach sherbert. Or is it sherbet. Or sorbet. Either way, it's so pretty and peacefull.

Yeah, I'll get to the good stuff.

Our friends are still planning on staying with us. Probably through the end of the year. And yes, since I'm still not working, that will be a welcome bit of cash for oil and the mortgage. And speaking of work, I had a very good interview today that I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high for. But it's EXACTLY what I want to do. It's not that I don't think I'm qualified, I KNOW I can do the job and I'm qualified for it...I just know that I was also qualified to do the other jobs that I've interviewed for and I didn't get those...

But perhaps it was God's way of keeping me out of work until this came around.

In regards to the house...oi. So much going on! My hubby took off the front porch last weekend and discovered that the front part of the roof was badly in need of replacing, so this past weekend, a group of our friends helped him work on that. I wish our digital camera was still working, but I did manage to get some pictures with the 35mm so we'll see how those turn out.

Unfortunately, my hubby and one of our friends is still working on it! The poor guy. He hasn't taken a day off in three weeks and he has a paying side-project lined up for this coming weekend too. He's so tired and worn down, his shoulder isn't healing from his ATV accident a few weeks ago and frankly, he's getting a bit cranky.


Enough about me. What's going on with you? Are the kids liking school? Are your days more crazy than ever? Find any good recipes lately? (Especially for cranberries and pumpkin stuff!)


Now here's a quick disclaimer about this next part: this is the reason why I don't tell people I know in face-to-face life that I have a blog. Way too personal to share with people you actually know! Ironic, isn't it. But this is my blog about growth and change, and I've gone back and forth in my mind as to whether or not I SHOULD talk about this, but that's the whole point of the blog. To share everything as pertaining to growth. The pain, the joy, the confusion, the dirt. And here's the pain, the dirt, the mud.


It all comes back to the mother, huh? To all the mom's out there, I'm sorry. That's way too general of a statement. But in my case, much of my complexity can be traced back to my mom. Is that better?

I've recently realized the blaring truth that my mom is not Just a control freak. It's way beyond freakish. It's obsession. It's unhealthy. It's beyond unhealthy. It's manipulation, it's exageration, it's self-pity and on and on and on. And I'm becoming just like her.

Yeah. Really scary. I mean, I've recognized the control freak inside of me and we've kind of come to an agreement about that, (me and the control freak inside me,) but it's come to the point that I have to kind of break away.

It hurts. I feel bad. There is this ingrained loyalty that I think most kids have to their parents, and while it doesn't feel natural to "break away," I think there is a natural component there, too. It's probably one of those things kids have to go through as they become adults. And here I am, 32 years old, just coming to this realization. I mean, I thought I HAD gone through this, started living my own life, etc. But for me, this feels different.

It's boundaries, limits, thinking for myself, resisting that siren song of parental guidance. Taking admonishment and still saying no, standing up for myself, understanding that to be healthy I must withdraw for a bit.

A few weeks ago I went to the laundromat to clean all our comforters and winter blankets. I met a woman there who was native american and we got to talking. She noticed my barret that had butterflies engraved on it and she spoke about what the butterfly meant as a talisman. I can't remember all that she said, but I remember in particular what she said about the crysalis stage of the butterflie's life.

It represents withdrawl as a stage of growth. It can be physical, spiritual, emotional, etc. and can last for any amount of time. The point is, in order to fully form as a completed being...the resulting butterfly..., one must go through a period of withdrawl, hibernation, etc.

And my point is, I think this is that time for me. My counselor asked me to write mom a letter (without the intent of giving it to her,) and I'm finding it harder than I thought it would be. It's so ... general. It's not like there was an event or trauma that caused this pain, it was a pattern of life. How do you consolidate that into a sentence, say how it made you feel, and come to a conclusion. Or am I forcing structure into this letter that is restricting this healing process?

I am tempted to just walk away, but I know that's the coward's way out. Maybe for a moment, but eventually I'll have to confront her. And it's up to her to respond. How she'll respond is possibly predictable, but miracles still happen. I'm not counting on it, but it would be nice. And they do happen. I'm living proof.

But that's another story.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Menu Plan Monday



If you've taken a look at my other blog, Blecipes lately, you could have probably guessed at this week's menu plan already!


Monday:
Grilled Cornish Game Hens with Crockpot Acorn Squash, fresh romaine salad and rice (for hubby, who boycotts anything including "squash" in the name...woohoo! more for me!!)


Tuesday:
Gorgonzola Stuffed Meatballs with garlic smashed potatoes and steamed veggies.


Wednesday:
TX Cowboy Pie and Grilled Salad.


Thursday:
Grilled Chicken and Southwestern Crockpot Sweet Potato and Corn Medley.


Friday:
Homemade Pizza. I picked up some local pepperoni and some local cheese and I have plenty of local tomato sauce in the freezer, so all we need is some locally ground flour! Which I haven't found yet. Oi.


Saturday:
Date Night. Out. Treat!


Sunday:
Uh, leftovers. Lots and lots of leftovers!


Breakfasts: Muffins, grapefruit and tea (for me), toast and coffee for him. How DO we survive the morning?


Lunches: cold cut sandwiches, fruit and cookies for him, leftovers for me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Flying lessons

I mentioned last week that I was checking out Flylady.net. I've gotten the chance to implement the beginner steps and I have to say, I was surprised at the pace she gets you cleaning house. Since the first step is to shine the sink (and she gives you detailed instructions on how to do so!) I figured the next step would be to clean something else, but it isn't. I am so excited to share my FLYing experience because it's more of a habit-developing format than simply having you blindly following directions or lists of things to do.
FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself. And although some days are easier than others, it makes sense. Check it out. It's free, completely free. She does sell organizational and cleaning tools, but the basis of Flylady - the directions, the motivational e-mails, etc. are completely free.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Opening and closing doors

I've gone on a few interviews for HR positions and registered for a couple of temp agencies. I have to say I've kind of tanked a couple of the interviews because I've been somewhat honest about my long term goals. I really want to move in the direction of social services eventually. Really, I'd love to do that now, but have no experience (besides my associates degree and internship.)
Ten years ago when I wanted to get into Human Resources, I looked for an entry level position and worked for six months as a receptionist in an HR department.
Today I found a position at Easter Seals as an Administrative Assistant. I can't express how excited this made me! I didn't even think of implementing the same kind of plan as I did ten years ago!
The other little bonus is that it's a part time position and within two miles from home. It's crazy amazing how God is opening opportunities for me! I was so excited last week when I was called for an interview 4 miles from home, then incredibly dissapointed when I didn't get it. But this was waiting in the wings, a position in the direction I really want to be taking but didn't think was possible.
This is a tough time to be unemployed though. I don't want to get political, but I think as soon as the election is over, (no matter what the outcome is), things will begin to settle down. But in the meantime, I am listening to my hubby on the phone with one of our friends who is in a sales position. He's not selling anything, and my hubby's company hasn't sold any new contracts lately. I am certainly not alone.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Barefoot and loving it

There's something wonderful about bare feet in the dewy morning grass. I've never liked being barefooted in the grass before. It tickles and itches my ankles and it always irritated me. But ever since my hubby put up the clothesline earlier this summer, I've been loving being barefooted in the grass. Maybe it's because it's still wet with dew and the droplets are still shimmering in the early morning sun. Or because the birds are still chirping. Since I normally didn't get up until the last possible moment before I had to get ready for work, I never got the chance to enjoy that early morning sound.
Now my morning ritual includes barefeet in the dewy grass and when I miss it, I certainly miss it. Through tough leathery soles, I am connected to the earth in a way that my ancestors were. It surprises me, but it's a gentle surprise. Almost as if I'd known it all along, but didn't yet recognize.
It's taken about two weeks, but I'm officially no longer stressed out. This time of rest has been so good for every part of me. The body, mind, soul...all rested. I have been able to establish structure and routine, discipline to keep to the day's plan, and contentment, even eagerness to do housework, cooking, baking, cleaning. I know it's time to go back to work, but I will miss this time of being home, taking care of my family, preparing for the winter. Putting food up for the winter makes me feel so connected to womankind. To my ancestors. To my family and to time.
I find purpose and contentment in taking care of the house, all of the details of managing life here in our little house. It's no wonder I get overwhelmed when I'm working and shopping and cooking and cleaning and crashing because I can't do it ALL damnit!
My heart yearns to find a nice little part time job close to home. To contribute to the community around me daily, but more importantly: to contribute to our home daily too. There are so many times when I simply drag myself home to crash in a heap and hope there's something in the freezer. Instead, these days I work all day to put something in the freezer!
My hubby simply years for me to return to full time employment and I can't really blame him. It's a lot of pressure on his shoulders...his one freshly injured shoulder and the other one that was injured a few years ago! Yeah. It might be time to sell those ATV's. (Shhh!)
I've broached the subject with him before...and I know where he stands, but I wonder if I should approach the subject again. I can see the benefits being a smoother running household and a more mentally healthy wife, but I may simply be looking for the good and ignoring the faults in the idea.
Now I'm just rambling, so I'll sign off, but I can't wait for morning.
And barefeet in the dew-drenched grass.

Perspective Shift

As I embark on my first Eat Local Challenge, I have already begun to think of my food differently, and it surprises me. Being out of work, I've decided to spend my days putting up food to avoid the high cost of produce in January. I pretty much decide every morning what I want to make, go to the store or a farm stand, and proceed to make whatever it is I've decided on.

This has given me a great excuse to seek out different farms and markets than I normally visit since I'm not as pressed for time as I usually am. I actually found myself dissapointed the other day to figure out that the Twist of Fate Farm isn't within ten miles of my home. Ten miles. Doesn't sound like much, especially since most of the food I've eaten my whole life probably comes from hundreds, even thousands of miles away! But I had this idea in my head that I wanted to see if I could get everything I needed within ten miles.

This isn't just a food-related thought, it's a whole lifestyle coming together. While I'm looking for a new job, I'm focusing on staying local. I've gotten a lot of greif about this from people that say - it's no big deal to commute 20 miles north or south to Nashua or Concord. Heck, a lot of people commute to Boston from Manchester. But this is my choice and my life.


I've also noticed that the food I'm purchasing lately is much more personal. I've met the guy who works the land and harvests the produce. I've met his teenage boy, and waved to his wife. I've walked by the chicken coops and the pig pens on the farm where I got my eggs and bacon, I heard them clucking and snorting. I've gushed over the freshness of the eggs. They are more precious than "regular" eggs. They are infinitely more precious than the single dollar extra I paid for them. They are somehow more real and I plan how I'm going to use them much more carefully. This morning I set about to make chicken nuggets using an egg batter. I debated if I really wanted to use four of my precious eggs as an egg batter! Really. They're going to be eaten SOMEHOW, why not this way...


But it takes me back to a few years ago. We were doing a Bible Study about the tabernacle and the temple. One part explained how sacrifices were made and how the person seeking forgiveness had to bring the live sacrifice to the altar and kill it there. The person had to physically kill the animal right then and there. Ever since, I haven't looked at a single piece of meat the same again. I used to get chicken or something and put it in the fridge intending to cook it right away or within a few days...but something would come up and we'd eat something else and before you know it, the meat would go bad. Since visuallizing the sacrifice at the altar, I have rarely had to throw away bad meat. It just doesn't happen. I am so much more aware of the waste, the meaningless waste.


I think it's very smart to be thinking about eating locally in the fall, specifically. It's a natural time to be putting food up for the winter, and concentrating on eating locally at this time thereby ensures that you'll be eating locally through the winter as well.


My goal for the October Eat Local Challenge is to find a new source of locally grown or raised food each week and to make at least one completely local meal each week. I am still on the hunt for locally milled flour, and I have found a couple sources listed online. Not within my 10-mile radius, but still well within the region. Now it's just a matter of getting my butt over there!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Twist of Fate Farm

I made my first trip to Twist of Fate Farm in Dunbarton, NH today. It is so easy to get to, a little out of the way, but straightforward directions make it simple. The farm is only 6.5 miles from exit 6 on 293 in Manchester, and it took me only 13 minutes from the highway.
I got eggs freshly washed and still warm! (At $3/dozen) I also picked up some bulk breakfast sausage, bacon and some baking apples. Everything was well organized and clean. They have local ice cream and other local food products like pickles and relishes, bread mixes and jellies, soaps and lotions.
I'll definitely be making regular trips to Twist of Fate Farm. I'm thinking bacon-wrapped sirloin tips...
My hubby asked about prices when I was gushing over the freshness of the eggs. Apples to apples, I'd pay $5 a dozen for organic eggs at the big grocery store. Apples to oranges, I'd pay $2 a dozen for non-organic eggs.

Fly, baby, fly!

I was meeting with a ministry coordinator at church this morning and after we were through our business, we got to chatting. I shared with her the news I received last night. And now I share with you...
Friends of ours, a couple we've known for years, may be in need of temporary housing for a few months. We have room. They may be staying with us.
Eeek!
I am so gratified to be able to help out in their time of need, as we've done for others in the past, but oi....my house...disaster...yeah.
Well Katrina, who I met with this morning pointed me to Flylady.net and I am SO incredibly grateful! I have a few weeks before our friends move in and I also have no employment in sight so guess what I'm going to be doing in the next couple of weeks?

Flylady is a free online resource designed to help you declutter, clean, organize, be encouraged, etc. and it's going to save my sanity!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Redeeming the Time

Although I am not working right now, I'm trying to be carefull to use my time well. Instead of lounging on the couch in front of the tv wasting away. So I've been putting up lots of food, mostly freezing. I also spent the weekend with a very frazzled, very stressed out little sister. Poor teenager! Every morning I make a batch of muffins, eat two, and freeze the rest. Then when I go back to work, I can take them out in small batches, have a quick breakfast or snack, and not have to stop at Dunkin Donuts for a muffin that costs four times as much!
Maybe I should think about freezing coffee. Can you do that? I mean, I keep the grounds in the freezer, but can you freeze prepared coffee?
I'm going to give it a try!
So far, I've frozen 8 cups of salsa, 5 cups of tomato sauce, a bunch of corn, two cups rice, and some cherry tomatoes form the farm down the road. PickYourOwn.org has great suggestions on how to freeze ANYTHING. My favorite suggestion so far was freezing juicy things, or sauces, using a vacuum sealer. The juice will be sucked up by the vacuum sealer, so what do you do? Freeze it in the bag without vacuum sealing it first, then when it's frozen, vacuum it closed and the juice won't be sucked out! Problem solved.

I've also been checking the job boards every day. Many times a day. It's not healthy.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rainy Saturday

This whole not-having-a-camera thing is really killing me, but I'll share anyway! I hit the Salvation Army yesterday for some professional clothes, but found more antiques than clothes. Then my little sister and I headed out for a visit to the flea market this morning but it was closed due to rain. Flood watch...whatever. We were Wicked hungry though so we stopped at a diner and found Nancy Jean's Attick, which ironically was located in the restaurant's Basement. But I digress...
We found more antique-y stuff and got to "scratch" that thrift-shopping itch!
Now I'm setting up to make tomato sauce from 7 lbs of tomatoes we picked up down the road. Seriously. I love getting my food from "the farm down the road."
So, while my tomato sauce cooks down, I'll fill you in...I found an old mixer! It's in about ten different pieces, but otherwise it's just like the one my mom used to have. Then of course, is the Theodore Haviland serving bowl and platter. Couldn't find the name of the pattern, or number, but it was definitely one of the french-made ones. I also found a Maddock tea cup and saucer which I matched up to their stamp used in 1927; a missmatched Royal Albert tea cup and saucer, and a teeny tiny Thomas vase, of Germany; two white divided oval Glassbake bowls; and a bunch of other cool stuff.
now, where to put it all...Sounds like it's time for a yard sale!

Friday, September 26, 2008

More Laundry Detergent recipes

Disclaimer: I love love love Jen's Homemade laundry detergent recipe! It's effective, inexpensive, and makes me feel great for doing both at the same time! But it requires forethought. Which I really don't do well. Even as I watch the last of the detergent get mixed into the last load of laundry...
So I desperately looked for another option...and found TipNut's list of 10 different recipes! I want to try #10 which incorporates vinegar...and yes - it turns into a powdery form eventually. Check it out...

Homemade automatic dishwasher detergent!

Mrs. Dani comes through for us once again! Here is her wicked easy recipe for dishwasher detergent!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Um...help?

I have so much to say and it seems like it's all floating up there in my brain and I can't organize my thoughts.
I'm unemployed and searching for a job. I was hoping to have this week off, and start a job next week. Doesn't look like that will be a problem. Except the starting the job next week! I don't do well without structure and I haven't thought much about building structure into my day since I'm "home." Yesterday was a lost day. Tuesday I had a couple appointments to build my day around, but I'm floundering a bit here now.

So my question is, do you work from home, or stay home, or whatever you want to call it...are you home full time...or even part time...and what do you do to build structure and routine into your day...?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm back!

I forgot to post last week about how long I'd be away, but I'm back and have so much to say! Tuesday was my last day at work, I had an interesting counseling session, and Wednesday we left for Dover, Delaware for another NASCAR weekend! Monday night we got home and I slept slept slept!
This morning I got up and went for screening for the National Marrow Donor Program. Nine or ten years ago, before we were married, my hubby's roommate donated bone marrow to a toddler who had a terminal illness. Through his experience, he became involved in local bone marrow donation events. My hubby and I attended one of the "bone marrow drives" where we gave a small amount of blood for type screening. Fast forward to last friday, I got a phone call out of the blue from the marrow donor program. Apparently I'm a potential match for a young man with leukemia. I still may not be enough of a match to help this young man. Only 1 in 12 of donors who get to this stage of screening go on to acutally be enough of a match to donate. BUT I won't know for another 2 months...
And this afternoon I have an interview.
Big doin's.
So sorry about the long absence, but big updates to come...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A bump in the night

Disclaimer: I love cats. I love most animals. If I weren't allergic, I'd have a house full of animals.

but I digress...

I almost laughed so hard last night, but I knew my hubby wouldn't understand.
When I got home it was sweltering in the house, so I opened the doors and windows (since it was cooler outside!!!) and went in the backyard to relax for a few minutes. I went back in eventually, closed the outside doors, and went on my way about my evening.
Fast forward to 12:45 am.
My hubby turns on the lights in the bedroom and leaves the room, muttering something about getting rid of the cat.
We don't have a cat.
It's obsurd.
I believe he's sleep walking or only half awake and thinking about his dream still. He comes back in the room and starts poking around under the bed saying "come on kitty, here kitty." I'm now awake and seriously concerned for his sanity.
"What ARE you doing?"
"I told you, getting that stupid black cat out of here."
"We don't have a cat."
He gives me a look like "no duh."
"Well somehow it got in here and it was walking all over me while I was sleeping."
I give him a look like "suuuuuure."
Then out of nowhere a black cat streaks from under my side of the bed out into the hall and across to the guest room.
Oh.
I guess there was a cat in the room.
Which would explain the weird sounds upstairs when we were watching tv earlier.
I attempt to go back to sleep, but my hubby is still determined to get the cat out of the house pronto. After listening to him bumble about the guest room, talking sweetly to the "stupid cat," I get up to try to help. We eventually got it out from under the guest bed, then the hope chest, then from behind the bureau. My hubby carried it down the stairs and THREW it out the front door!
I was a little concerned.
Poor cat.

Monday, September 15, 2008

In Memory

The seventh anniversary of 9/11 was last week. It's not that I forgot. I purposely waited to post. I wanted to really think about what it means to me. You know, beyond the heightened security and general inconvenience of it all. It's not that I'm annoyed by these things, it's that I'm annoyed by the fact that it seems many of my fellow Americans have forgotten the reason why we are abiding by new rules and regulations.
I am not nearly old enough to remember Pearl Harbor, but I remember every year when it comes and goes. I am ashamed to say, it's not because of a relative's death, a military attachment, a reverance for what those men stood for, the turning point in our country's history that day. No, it's because it happens to coincide with the day I met my husband. Yeah. And how many other great, historical dates come and go without pause from the people of this great country and our busy lifestyle? Hundreds, if not thousands.
Then I wonder...how long will it be before I completely forget? How many years will go by before that day in Two-Thousand-Something that 9/11 comes and goes and I don't even think once about the significance of the date and what transpired in 2001? It saddens me to think that what we experienced, what we grieved over, and what took me weeks and months to stop thinking about every day may now be put into a text book and memorized without passion and kids will learn about it with even less passion and once the test is over, it will be promptly forgotten.
I don't have an eloquent way of closing this post. "Never Forget" is both cliche and unrealistic. To say I'm saddened both by the events and by the fact that it's become just another day is both cliche and maybe a bit naive. Any trauma that we experience will eventually heal. But healing is not forgetting.

Babies. Sigh.

Another friend is pregg-o. They're multiplying. And the ones that are multiplying are multiplying. I mean, it's like, epidemic here! {sigh}

And I am tempted to jump on the bandwaggon and say "let's give it another shot" with my hubby, but we've only been in counseling a few months and he's only been alcohol free for a little over a month. I'd be a fool not to anticipate detours in "recovery" ahead, and yet I also think it's foolish to think we're ever going to "have it all together." We are a work in progress. And my hubby's recovery is a work in progress. Heck, I'M a work in progress.

But the synical side of me says my hubby could just be waiting for me to say "let's do it" and then he can start drinking again. And what makes me the pregnancy police?

Looks like we have something to talk about in counseling, huh?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Picking Grapes and Freezer Organization

Last night my hubby and I decided that it was past time to pick our wild concord grapes for his annual wine-making. The only problem is, the first two weeks of the wine process is an essential time. You must stir up the mash every day of the first two weeks. Well, we aren't going to be around for a good part of the next two weeks! But in the meantime, the grapes are almost past peak and we can't wait any longer to harvest them!

Solution?

Frozen Grapes.

So simple.

Except I had to rearrange the freezer in order to make room for flash-freezing 30 pounds of grapes! Yup. 30 pounds. Oi.


First, I took everything out and put in on the counter. Then I made piles according to like items. My piles ended up being: Veggies, uncooked meat, cooked meat, fish, icepacks (medicinal or for lunch boxes), & staples (like butter, frozen spices, eggbeaters). I then used shoe-box size plastic bins (labeled, of course) to hold three of these categories. The staples and icepacks went on the door, the open veggies and cooked meat went in one bin, fish in another, and uncooked meat went in another. I also had a few items that didn't fit in the bins, like unopened bags of veggies and family packs of meats. Well, that's okay. Because just organizing what I was able to do was a huge help! I'd already cleaned out the whole bottom shelf!


Just imagine how much more space I can make if I actually finish the job!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ah, the sweet, familiar strains of...

...depression. Well, maybe not sweet. But familiar, yes. I spoke with my counselor awhile back about how many of my episodes seem to come after major events in my life. Like getting married, a flood, a job change...

So this week I've been noticing more and more of my behaviors drifting toward depression mode and Uh-Oh!

I have fought it off for most of the year, I can keep it up!

I think what is getting me right now is the uncertainty of it all. Yes, this is something I've wanted for awhile, but under my own terms, in my own time. God (and my boss) had different ideas. I've already had an interview and have a few other applications in to other companies. I'm not concerned about loosing pay, but not knowing what the future holds for me is very hard.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Long time, ...

I think this is the longest I've ever gone without posting on this blog! 4 long days.

Well, to catch you up...the biggest news of all...I've only got two weeks left in my current job. I met with my boss this morning and he said let's transision sooner rather than later, offered to keep me for two weeks and I guess that's that.

I feel like my head is spinning!

And with that, I'll go back to scrambling to make sense of it all...oh, and I have an interview in the morning.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Angry Chicken

I don't know why it's taken me so long to check out Angry Chicken, but alas, it has. Maybe it's because of the name. Sounded, idon'tknow...angry? But it's actually quite fantastic!
Don't let the name turn you off, check her out! (If there's anyone out there besides me who HASN'T already fallen in love with her blog!)

Naturally...

Finally, a simple solution to household cleaning.

decisions...

Dang it, today I want to stay!
I don't want to look for another job.
I don't want to leave this place that's become like home to me.
I don't want to leave one less-than ideal job for another that's just as "less-than-ideal."

Decisions, Decisions.

Will I ever make up my mind?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Honestly...

I had a sit-down with my boss this afternoon.
My work is becoming effected by my lack of motivation. {and lack of sleep, etc}
He asked if everything was alright.
You know, it would almost make it easier if he was a little less understanding!
I let him know I'm casually looking for another position.
In the end he said these things happen, people change, interests change, now we can be open about it and prepare for my departure if that's what I decide to do.

But, he said, either way I need to make a decision soon.
And that we'd talk again next week.

Oh boy.
Decision time.

I looked online...no HR openings in my "level" anywhere near home. Or even as far away as I already am. But do I take that as "a sign" to stay? I don't think God works that way.

August Challenges

30-day Husband Encouragement Challenge
Things are really changing in our marriage. I think in part due to this challenge, but also because of our counseling and a renewed attitude. After all, if I didn't have a better attitude, I wouldn't have taken the challenge to begin with!

Buy nothing new challenge
I think I did fairly well. I did make a few small purchases, but only after carefull deliberation and seeking alternatives. I want to keep it going, but in a more relaxed sense. I think just having an attitude of resistance to making brand new purchases is a start.

Stash Month
Nothing. Not one piece of new material entered the house! I did get some crafting books at a yard sale, and some free fabric, but I didn't have to buy the fabric and the books were a dollar a piece! (And I didn't go overboard!)

org junkie's mudroom challenge
Flop. What can I say, I'm not superwoman! I went looking for a bench on my yard sale treck last weekend, but came up empty. I did find a great key hook-y thingy to hang on the wall though, and have plans for when we tear off the mudroom. So I think October will be mudroom month as that's when construction is under way! September is all about the office! And not a moment too soon! I'm so deleriously happy that my camera is busted because if you thought the mudroom pics were bad, I don't even want to PEEK at the office! Yeah, we usually close that door when company comes over.

Quit Now Challenge: Snooze
Yeah. Snooze button. Who'd have thought there would be something even harder to quit than ice cream. Didn't happen. Still not wonder woman. She wouldn't have to sleep, much less use the snooze!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Steadfastness

Today I spoke with my counselor about the concept of steadfastness. It rang in me feelings of calm, endurance, gently flowing, not interupted, not erratic, not overwhelming. He encouraged me to target three areas of my personal life where I could become more steadfast. Immediately coming to mind were cleaning my kitchen, reading from my reading list, and having a regular quiet/bible study/prayer time.
I recall all of the goals I'd been setting mid-August and how overwhelmed and ultimately counter-productive that ended up being. Bill was carefull to specifically limit me to three areas to work on at first.
So I'm going to start with a clean slate/blog and have goals just for those three areas of my life. The reason they're so important is because they are the places where I need the most work. When the kitchen isn't clean and organized, I retreat and cannot think clearly about anything else. The same could be said for my desk at work! The key is not just to get it clean and organized though, it's to maintain this order, to form a habit of orderliness, to become a finisher.

Candida-Related Sites

I'm getting my butt back in gear and preparing to tackle the most impossible of diets and that is the dreaded Candida Diet. {sigh}

If you really want to know more about it, check these out:

~Yet another new blog by your's trully: My Candida Journey.

~Basic information at About.com

~A holistic approach at Holistic Health Solutions.

~A free ebook on an easy home test (spit into a glass of water...way cheap!) and suggestions on treatment at SubtleNRG.com or go directly to the report at The Candida Fix. It will ask you for referrals, but they are not necessary for getting the free report. It will be e-mailed to you whether you provide referrals or not! The spit test is described in the report.

~A blog devoted to all things candida related! Amazing amount of information here!

~A long list of what you can and cannot eat. Oi.

~Interesting link...it's an e-book for sale. The "hook" follows:"Please don't waste money on supplements that do nothing but chase symptoms - I have been there so you don't need to.What You Need To Understand Is How To:Identify And Eliminate The Root Causes That Create The Perfect Breeding Ground For Candida Yeast.If you want a solution that is Effective, And One That Gets Fast Results -- Then Click Here To READ MY STORY" My normal policy is not to post/ advocate/ recommend sites that are strictly sales sites, but I've purchased the book & haven't had time to read it yet. I'll update here with my impressions so if you wish, wait for my report back by the end of the week (9/6/08) before you shell out $24 & change for it...

~Another interesting link, Candida Free. I've only skimmed it so far, but proves to be chock full of info. It does recommend product sales, but you don't have to buy a book!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

First I have to share a tip I found for easy Menu Planning. I've searched and wondered and thought about it, and contemplated, but didn't have an EASY, organized approach to Menu Planning. This tip makes it so simple!

Okay, as for my Menu Plan for the week...

Monday:
Crock-Roasted Chicken, using Virginia's idea.

Tuesday:
Jenn's Zucchini Soup

Wednesday:
I'll make my own pasta dough with my breadmaker, then make Pasta Salad to accompany our grilled chicken.

Thursday:
Chicken enchiladas with mexican-seasoned roasted zucchini

Friday:
Tomato basil pizza

Saturday:
Leftovers

Sunday:
Leftovers

Get more great recipe and menu ideas over at Menu Plan Mondays' headquarters!

{cross-posted on Blecipes}

Saturday, August 30, 2008

In a Name...

Saturday:
~I went yard saling and WOW! I hit some great yards! Some of course were duds, but you have to expect that every once in awhile. I limited myself just to Manchester and actually ended up limiting myself to the southern portion of the city just because of logistics. I found a lot of things on my wishlist as well as fulfilling another of my weekend dreams: I found a black velvet sheath dress for tonight's wedding and already have the perfect shawl for it!
I ended up at a friend's yard sale and got to visit for awhile...what a pleasure! I bought her rocking chair, (my feet reach the ground! WoooHooo!) and learned that she'd found it at a yard sale as well! And the cycle continues....
I also repaired my duct tape dress form and now she's wearing my new dress! My hubby approves (I tried it on too,) and I realize I need a name for my duct tape helper!

Unfortunately, I cannot take any more pictures of her because my camera is taking a dream weekend too. I finally got a repair part and figured out how to switch it out but, ooops...tore one of the electronic ribbons. (I have no idea what they're called, just bear with me!)

But I did have this one unadorned clip of her from when we made her last weekend...



So, what do you think I should name her?!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Weekend Dreams

Yes, Weekend Dreams. Not Weekend Goals. That sounds too much like work. And it just sets me up failing to reach the goals, but if they're dreams, who can be faulted for not fulfilling every last dream?

So Labor Day weekend will be a Dream Weekend! Doesn't it just sound so wistfull, relaxing, dreammy?

But I digress...here are my weekend dreams:
~pickle my cukes
~make granola bars DONE
~make peppermint patties
~see the sunrise over Hampton Beach one of the mornings
~start making paper from junk mail
~start a diy project for the venuszine contest
~figure out what to wear for Saturday night's wedding!! DONE
~set up the new compost bin
~use up the rest of the tomatoes from mom's garden
~install the new backlight in my stupid camera that's not even a year old! Oi. {sigh} (used, got on e-bay) DONE, SORT OF...
~yard saling! But only in Manchester. I took a month off and now I'm letting myself out again. But on a leash! DONE

But first, I have to consider what's already scheduled:
~Fireworks at our friend's house friday night
~Wedding for another friend to her dream-come-true fiance (they're so perfect for each other!)
~Greeting at church Sunday morning
~Hyung may sleep over Sunday night
~Hopefully seeing the sunrise (listed above)


So that leaves me with Saturday and Sunday afternoon and most of Monday.

{can she do it?}
{We shall see!}

{"She" reserves the right to add to or subtract from this list at any moment during the weekend. If she does subtract from the list it in no way reflects an opinion on this blog, but is simple fact. If she adds to the list, it does not indicate a swollen head or arrogant I-can-do-everything attitude, but instead, reflects a dreams-might-still-come-true outlook. If at any time it is suggested that she won't be able to complete the dream list, it's not an indication of failure, but of acceptance that there still aren't 40 hours in a day, and that's okay.}

Added Dreams:
~Tape up my duct tape dress form. Again. (It keeps busting open!) DONE
~Research cost of making a paper-tape dress form
~Ohohoh! Finish the Org Junkie's Monthly Organizing Roundup of our mudroom!
~Find a copy of "Nurturing Silence," a book I saw at the counselor's office this week...
~I just thought of something and between that moment and this {and about 5 things I had to get done before I could do this} I've already forgotten it. Dang. {SATURDAY: I need to come up with a plan for my "food related lifestyle change." Not to be confused with a "diet."}

Subtracted Dreams: (or demoted to "if time allows" status)
~Pickling cukes
~making peppermint patties

Oh, I'm so totally doing this!

Check out venuszine's 4th annual craft-off contest!
And hurry, the deadline's Sept 18th!
Someone's going to get the Singer 8763 Curvy sewing machine!

...now, what will I make for this?

Note to Self: 6th Edition

1. I don't have to accept myself the way I am. Some say you should. I say why settle? Yes, being happy with who you are is sometimes healthy. In the right context. But being open to change verses becoming complacent is healthy as well. If you're happy with who you are, but ignoring major flaws of charachter, that's a problem.

2. Be Present. While I'm being pulled in three directions (yes, down from 10!), I have to watch myself. You know the saying "borrowing $ from Peter to pay Paul." I have to make sure I'm not stealing time from Peter to spend with Paul. (Don't tell my hubby!)

3. Objectivity is golden. Through out marital counseling, I had an individual session where all we talked about was my family of origin. "Phil" asked some questions that seemed rather irrelevant at the time, but it really opened my eyes to the deeper dynamics of our family. I think of myself as a pretty intuitive and self-aware kinda gal, but he really helped me see even deeper. It was an incredibly valuable experience being able to gather his objective insight.

4. Delayed Gratification is Sweet. I hope. I haven't been able to get to the Department of Motor Vehicles to officially upgrade my driver's licence to motorcycle operator, so as I drive around town seeing all these people in office clothes atop their sport bikes (so funny to see!), it's a bit of a taunt to me! But I'll eventually have my bike and can start riding just like them, and it'll be sweet indeed!

5. My hubby and I are so in tuned to each other, and we both avoid confrontation so much, that when one is upset, the other retreats. Then the upset one retreats and the other retreats even more. This is a totally stupid spiral that goes on and on. In order to break the cylce, one of us has to change, and it looks like it's going to be me.

6. As far as I've come, as mature as I've gotten, {snort}, I've got a lot to learn.


{Swift River, Kancamagus Highway, near Conway, NH}

{Reflection of a grey heron on Conway Lake in Conway, NH}

My Wishlist

(Things to look for at yardsales)
seam guide
fiskars soft handled precision scissors for teddy-bear materials
Globe
4 qt crockpot
40 hours in a day (but just as many days in a week)
Permanent Clothesline
Bench for mudroom "area"
"Squarefoot Gardening" (book) (can't remember author)
Canning jars
Canning pot
Magnetic Canning "Wand"
Canning basket
Pantry Shelving units
Coat Hooks
Coat Rack

And my far-out wishes:
Serger (overlock sewing machine)
Housekeeper
Laundry Lady
Dishwasher (person)
Chef
Administrative Assistant
Oh wait. I am an administrative assistant.
Shoot.

ten words

This is the difference between midnight and 9 am. Laptop and desktop.

63 words

Speed test

the globe in my living room

Seriously.
I just posted a Note to Self Friday...
Like, yesterday!
Or, maybe the day before....
Yeah, I guess it was a week ago.

{sigh}

I'm sitting in my dark livingroom wishing I was asleep, the windows are open and I hear the crickets and some animal chirping or croaking. Chroaking.
The cool breeze wafts in the window and I try to ignore the sound of the tractor trailer rolling down the highway on the other side of the river.
I couldn't sleep because the upstairs was still so hot from the house being closed up all day, hopefully by the time my eyes refuse to open again the upstairs will be as cool as it is down here. Or it won't matter and I can fall asleep anyway!

I just stopped by Cathy's blog, Keeping it Real at 66 degrees North Latitude and was in for a reality check! They are preparing for frost. (In Alaska) It's August and they're preparing for frost! Only minutes before, I was admiring Tabitha'a patio set which she hopes to use sometime in the next few months when "the temps are bearable!" (In Arizona) Am I the only one that thinks this is funny? Is it because it's after midnight?

Ah, well...I suppose I should be thinking of the things I've learned in the last week...

The typing test

53 words

Speedtest

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Locks of Love

How's this for Reuse/Recycle/Repurpose:
I tend to grow out my hair, then cut it all off every two years or so. Last time I cut it off, I'd begun hearing about Locks of Love. They "provide hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis."
I didn't donate my hair that day because I was afraid they wouldn't be able to use it as it was all split ends-ish. To my surprise, I found out later that they would have accepted it!
Fast forward to this past spring/early summer...
My dad had grown out his hair purposely so that he could donate to Locks of Love! He really inspired me to make sure I grew it long enough again before cutting it all off!
I plan to donate my hair as soon as it's grown out enough so that I don't have to have a "boy cut" again! I know, I know, there are great ways of styling short short hair on women, but I always tend to end up looking rather boy-ish for some reason!
Right now, I have about a 5 1/2" pony tail, so although I have quite a bit of hair, I've got a long way to go!

Here are some of the FAQ's I found most interesting:
~Most of their hairpieces are given to children diagnosed with alopecia areata which causes permanent hair loss and has no known cause or cure.
~It can take up to 10 donated ponytails to make one hairpiece!
~These custom hairpieces would cost between $3,500 and $6,000.
~They will sell hair that is too short, gray, or otherwise unusable in order to help offset manufacturing costs.
~They DO NOT throw hair away unless it is wet and moldy or not bundled in a braid or ponytail when it is received.
~You can sponsor a child's hairpiece for a donation of $1,000. Or cut, grow out, cut, grow out, cut, etc...
~Locks of Love is always in need of hair!
~Recipients can reapply for a new hairpiece every 18 months. One recipient could receive up to 8 hairpieces throughout their childhood.
~Because these hairpieces are custom made, they cannot be reused.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thrifty Thursday: switching from two to one income

Okay, a few of the ideas I found at thriftideas.com weren't exactly news items. We all probably pretty much know these things or think of them as common sense, but they are good reminders.


Surprise to me:
~You can freeze milk! As a seldom-milk-drinker, I buy the smallest amount possible when I know we'll have use for it, but still often find myself throwing some of it away a week later.


My Favorite Tip:
~Make-ahead your own basic and convenience food supplies. Such as granola, jam, hard-boiled-eggs, applesauce, etc. Sure, we can get them pre-made, but for quite a price!

Announcing: Totally Free Find!!!
I was stoked last night to find Kitchen Manuals Online, where I finally found the instruction manual for my $5 yard sale bread machine! I could have also gone through the manufacturer but every time I've tried in the last month, I get errors! There are also sites out there that will charge $8+ for these manuals! Don't pay for a manual until you've checked this site out! I was able to go directly to a PDF File and save it right onto my laptop.

I've been thinking more and more about living on one income. Neither me or my hubby are executives, making six figures (I don't think we even make 6 figures between us!) so it's not like living on my hubby's income would be simple. Then again, if we were making 6 figures, we'd be living a different lifestyle and the changes necessary for going from two to one income would also be hard.

But let's face it, living in America, in New England (and some other areas) is rather expensive. Yes, we've gotten used to living a certain lifestyle. In my estimation, it's rather frivolous of us to go to two NASCAR races every year (and this year we're adding a third-ouch!). And I think it's frivolous to have "more than basic" cable. I'm sure there are a ton of other things we're spending money on that are totally unnecessary, but I digress.

At stretcher.com I found this article which talks about going from two to one incomes. I loved reading Sue's entire story, but was thrilled at how she ended it: "I think the one thing we have learned from this transition is that time is a commodity that people rarely put a price on and yet it is probably the most valuable thing we possess."

At Kaboose.com, I found another arcticle about switching from two to one income. As I've mentioned, I don't know if we'll be able to have kids or not, but I definitely want to stay home regardless.

The more I think about the ways in which we can save, cut back, and make extra money doing other things, the more I come to realize many of these things take time out of the day. Not that I'm looking for the "easy way out," but I'm being realistic about my abilities and expectations. We still don't have a 40 hour day and I'm still not going home after working all day to weed the garden and sew up crafts to sell and fold the laundry and turn the kitchen into a showplace.

It's just not...gonna...happen.

I haven't even broached the subject with my hubby yet, but I want to make living on his income work. Before I bring it up with him, though, I think I have to have all my little duckies in a row or he'll completely dismiss the idea! I quit my job once before to pursue a career with a direct sales company and it ended in disaster. We were so deep in debt it looked hopeless. Our marriage suffered and I slipped into the biggest depression I've ever experienced. I anticipate that the first words I speak about this will completely shut my hubby down and he'll stop listening.

But I think, given the experience we had before, we can make it work this time. We hadn't changed our lifestyle any. I drove a gas-guzzling SUV, we went out to dinner, I still impulse shopped, we made no changes. We lived in an imaginary world and were rudely awakened by ruining our spotless credit and the phone ringing off the hook from collectors' calls. Ouch.

This time, we have the benefit of our previous experience to teach us what NOT to do.

ABC's of Homemaking





Not that I'm a homemaker in the sense that I am a SAH-Homemaker, but I am a homemaker in the sense that I still have a home to "make." Right?
I found this over at Sweet P's blog, Coffee Time at Home:

Aprons--y/n If y, what does your favorite look like?
I have two aprons. I usually forget to use them and end up getting oil splatter or chocolate on my regular shirts, but when I do remember to wear an apron, I prefer the bright red one because it's simple and works like a charm. The other one has adjustable straps that are more work than they need to be.

Baking--Favorite thing to bake?
I love baking! I'd have to say my favorite thing to bake is cookies. My hubby's a cookie monster! Other than that, I'm always up for something new!

Clothes line?
Yes!!! But I have a question for y'all. (in all honesty!)
I hang my clothes out before I leave for work and they hang out there for about 10 hours a day. Is that why they are so stiff, or would they still be stiff even if I took them down as soon as they were dry? I use vinegar as fabric softener, but I actually tried some real fabric softener I had leftover with one load and had the same results: Very stiff. Which is fine, I don't mind, but if they'll be softer with less time on the line, I'll do as much as I can on the weekends.

Donuts--Have you ever made them?
I've never made donuts. I'm not much of a donut girl. We do have a FryDaddy deep fryer though and have made chicken fingers, onion rings, stuffed jalapenos, french toast sticks, mozzarella sticks, and much more I'm probably forgetting.

Everyday--One homemaking thing you do every day?
Um, I don't, like, do chores every SINGLE day.
If anything, I throw a load of laundry in the wash most days. (Forget about folding and putting away though, that's actual work!)

Freezer--Do you have a separate deep freeze?
I would LOVE a separate deep freezer! Right now we have our main regular fridge/freezer unit and a separate fridge/freezer unit in the basement that my hubby converted into a kegerator complete with a tap system years and years ago. He never uses it as a kegerator anymore, and it's still usable, just has a hose sticking out of it! The freezer on that unit is standard size.

Garbage Disposer?
No, but now I compost anyway.

Handbook--What is your favorite homemaking resource?
Home Ec 101

Ironing--Love it or Hate it? Or hate it but love the results?
I'm pretty neutral on this. Don't love it, don't dread it. It's just sort of one of those things.

Junk Drawer--y/n? Where is it?
I have two. Three. No, two. Oh, darn...is that other one still a junk drawer? Drat. They are all in the kitchen. My poor, disorganized kitchen.

Kitchen--color and decorating scheme
The walls are a very soft muted green and the decorating scheme is Chili Peppers, so I have lots of red accents.




Love--what is your favorite part of homemaking?
When I have the time to do it without being rushed, I love to cook and bake.

Mop--y/n?
Not so much.

Nylons--wash by hand or in the washing machine?
I used to handwash them when I bought the super expensive good ones at you-know-who's (shhh! it's a secret, after all!) Now I hardly wear them and when I do, they go in the wash, but hang to dry. Well, everything hangs to dry now, but pre-clothesline, those already hung to dry.

Oven--do you use the window or open the oven to check?
I open the door to check. I find it pretty hard to see through the dark glass. Or am I supposed to clean that glass?

Pizza--What do you put on yours?
It's usually the one time we eat off paper plates.
Oh, what I put on IT...olives, sausage, mozzarella, basil, pepperoni, chunky tomatoes.

Quiet--What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
I don't know what I'd do with a quiet moment. I'm much too ADHD for that! Though I do schedule in craft time at night. Sewing, beading, cross stitching, etc.

Recipe Card Box--y/n? What does it look like?
Yes. It's wooden with a slanted top and a holder piece for the "recipe in progress" to rest while you're using it! Fan-tastic!

Style of house--What style is your house?
Cape. Wow. So succinct.

Tablecloths or Place mats?
Either. Right now we're using a classic red and white checked tablecloth (not Vinyl!!!) but I'll go through stages, switching it up every once in a while. Have I mentioned my ADHD?

Under the kitchen sink--organized or toxic wasteland?
Uh - total jumbled wasteland! Trash, recycling, toxic cleaners I still haven't used up so I can replace them with my homemade ones, dustpan and hand broom, garbage bags, mystery containers, etc....

Vacuum--How many times per week?
Per WEEK? Eek! I think I just vacuumed Tuesday night for the first time in a year! (My hubby usually does this as we only have carpeting in the guest room, stairway and a throw rug in the living room. I hurt myself awhile back and he does it all at the same time since I couldn't do the stairs for so long.) To be honest, I think he did it every other week.

Wash--How many loads of laundry do you do per week?
Oh, was I supposed to keep track? Actually, last month there's no way I'd be able to tell you, but since we've been using the clothesline, it works out for me to put a load in every night and hang it out to dry every morning. I probably do this 4-5 times per week now.

X's--Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
Sometimes?
(And do you complete said list?) (My attempt at humor)
Uh, ... not usually?

Yard--y/n? Who does what?
My hubby takes care of most of the yard work. I sometimes pitch in, but usually it's just with weeding the strawberry patch or pruning bushes or taking care of the area that gets poison ivy since I don't react to it.

ZZZ's--what is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed?
Like, every night?
Yeah, I'm not that organized.
Well, I'm beginning to be with the laundry situation. I'll put a load of laundry in the wash just before bed now. But besides that, I'm usually crafting or watching tv by the time bedtime rolls around and totally not in the homemaker mode!


Quite honestly, I'm a terrible homemaker. I can't imagine how I thought I'd be better when I had my own house. Something about pride in ownership.
Yeah, didn't happen. My poor hubby. He's definitely a keeper! He only complains about it about once or twice a year!

More Chore Slogans

I recently posted a very short list of catchy daily chore reminders and got a few more suggestions. I've since added even a few more, but I think my Mondays and Wednesdays are a bit loaded!

Mending Monday
Menu Plan Monday
Make the Bed Monday (strip, re-make)
Mudroom Monday
Tidy Tuesday (fridge, couch, car, trash, under/around appliances)
Handwash Wednesdays
Watering (houseplants) Wednesdays
Washroom (bathroom) Wednesdays
Weeding Wednesdays
Thursday?? (How about Thrifty Thursday - I must find one new thrifty idea to share!)
Thank you Thursdays (send thank you notes or any kind of friendly correspondence)
Finance Friday (bill pay, balance checkbook, update quicken)
Floor-me Friday (dust, vacuum, sweep, wash floors)

Any other ideas?

Eco-Frugality

Somehow I missed Hot Topic Tuesdays over at a very mary design. It was fantastic what she wrote about and the comments that generated had loads of examples about smart ways to "go green."

Very Mary ended her post by asking "how has the Green movement effected you and yours?"

My Comment:
"I have just begun thinking more about this in the past few months because I felt I was just one person, how much of a difference could I make? But I finally decided to do something about it when I saw how economical greener living could be (when not buying into SOME of the green marketing ploys out there). First I stopped buying new clothes, then it spring boarded from there...we re purpose, recycle, or compost almost all of what we used to consider trash, use hankies and rags instead of Kleenex and paper towels, use a clothesline instead of the dryer, driving the speed limit instead of wasting gas, use fans during the day (while we're not home) instead of running the AC ALL DAY LONG (While We're Not There!!!) and so much more! It's really incredible the different ways you can "go green" when it just makes economical sense!"


But I forgot that I also:
~Make my own household cleaners
~Use reusable grocery bags
~Got my motorcycle licence
~We've used a built-in water filter system for years (no bottled water)
~Planning a veggie garden for next year
~Reuse plastic baggies (unless they had raw meat in them. I know you CAN clean them, but I don't want to take any chances with that!)
~Drive with as little weight in the car/trunk as possible (saves on gas mileage)
~Put two 1-litre bottles of rinse water in the toilet tank (saves 2 liters of water for every flush)
~If/when we have kids, I plan on using cloth diapers and using more old-t-shirt-rags instead of wipes (and forget about the wipe warmer!)
~Unplug the TV, appliances, etc when not in use.
~As a carpenter, my hubby brings home the extra cuttings from the lumber they use and we have a backyard fire almost every weekend with them instead of just tossing it all in a dumpster.
~Since my company shreds confidential documents then piles that shredded paper in the general trash, I take it home instead to use for making my own recycled Christmas Cards.


But I wonder if she was actually asking not "what do you do that's green," but "how is your life different with the changes that you've made?"


I think the biggest change in my life is a total difference in perspective. I blogged awhile ago about how I no longer shop just for clothes, but I shop for clothes with an eye for the fabric.
First of all, I don't shop for new products unless absolutely necessary. I'll search for a used item before I'll break down and buy used.
So when I go to a thrift shop and check out the clothes there, I'm no longer looking for something that fits me, or even a specific color or fabric, I just shop with an eye out for something that catches my interest.

What have I purchased new recently?
~Bound Index Cards which will stay bound, I'm making them into a book (and they were made from recycled materials)
~An outlet timer. (I think that's what it's called. People often use them when they go on vacation so their lights will come on and go off at different times of the day, making it look like they are still home. I didn't want to take any chances on a faulty timer, so I bought new.)
~Flash Drive (not taking any chances with polluting my laptop!)
~Memory Card for my camera (ditto the above for my camera!)


I also find myself getting the motivations of "Eco-friendly" and "frugality" mixed up in my mind a lot. I am motivated first to be frugal, then to be Eco-friendly. Then I get immersed in the whole concept of being Eco-friendly, and I think of other ways to save money (yes, switching back again) because so many of the ideas for being Eco-friendly are also frugal!


It's a wonderful spiraling train of thought and I'm just so psyched to be making such wise choices and changes in my life!


Other changes I've made that are more frugal than Eco-friendly (not to say that they aren't Eco-friendly though!):
~Making most meals from scratch
~bringing coffee & lunches to work instead of "fast-fooding"
~Stash Month - I haven't bought a single sewing or craft item for all of August!
~First limited my yard saling to the city I live in, then restricted all yard saling activity for a month. (Lot's of gas being used driving all over "tarnation"; and money spend on yard sales is the same as money spend at another "sale", albeit less expensively...but still...)

And Eco-Frugal things I do:
~taking the 30+mpg car instead of the 20-mpg truck unless absolutely necessary (for moving things or camping with lots of cargo)
~adding uncooked pasta to cold water then boiling, shutting off the stove and letting it sit for 10 minutes
~eating more raw veggies and fruits (Eco-Frugal and healthy too, oh my!)
~bought the outlet timer (above) so I can use my old crockpot that doesn't have an automatic shut off instead of going out and buying a third crockpot!!! (Which I really really wanted to do!)


So what do you do that's Eco-Frugal?

Clanging Cymbal, Resounding Gong

I recently ran across this post over at to the ends of the earth, and it spoke to my heart. Among other things, this jumped out at me and I can't help but to share:

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” The only way to say this better is found in 2 Corinthians 9:7 - 8, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
In turn, this sparked in my heart the begining of the "love chapter," 1 Corinthians 13:
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Then I was reminded of a lesson I recently heard in a training. The last few verses in 1 Corinthians 12 gives even more meaning to these above verses:
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts.
It reminds me that we all have a specific place, a job, a function to fulfill, according to His design. Like a puzzle, we are the pieces, each with a unique design and coloration and we all fit together PERFECTLY ... when we are fulfilling our designed purpose and serving IN LOVE.
"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
And when we give from the heart, it makes all the difference. Giving for the sake of giving for some reason has so much less of an impact, doesn't it? To give for a tax write off? Not so much. I'm not saying you shouldn't write off your giving. It just makes sense to do so. But what is your motivation? Is the tax write off an extra bonus or is it the main reason you're giving?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

conTemplative Tuesdays and new goals

I'd really like to bake or cook something new or from scratch every day.

But is it realistic?

I'd like to do a lot of things every day, but there's still not 40 hours in a day.

If I had 40 hours in a day, I'd work 8, sleep 10, make all my meals from scratch, can something, sew something, hang the laundry out every day (weather permitting), cross stitch something, find new resources for my furniture ministry, plant something, harvest something, blog awhile, have tea with a new friend, visit sick kids, spend time relaxing with my hubby, and take a nap.

But there aren't 40 hours in a day and I still have to work 8, sleep 6 or 7, attend to personal hygiene, eat occasionally, commute, hopefully spend time with my hubby, and of course blog. (LOL!)

So I'll settle for making something new or from scratch at least once a week.

I learned something last night.

I had a lot to do, my sister is coming over tonight and my house was a MESS. There was so much to do to prep for her, plus other things I really wanted to get done.

In the past I'd have obsessed over it the whole way home, speeding, obsessing, going faster, obsessing, going over the plan in my head, cutting off people in the road, etc.

I'd get home completely wound up and storm in, create this terrible energy in the house, and get very little accomplished while expending extreme amounts of energy, including stress and negativity, aimed at the nearest victim which by no fault of his own would have been my hubby.
Instead, I chilled. I had a plan. I had it written down (as I usually do,) and I told myself that it was a guide, not law. If things didn't go just the way I wanted them to, I could adjust. After all, she's seen my house in worse shape before.

It worked well. I got dinner made with my hubby's help (unexpected) and the roasted tomato sauce made, I got a lot of cleaning done, some unexpected heart-to-heart conversations with my hubby (unplanned, as they usually are,) and I even willingly let go of some of the chores on my list and just sat and relaxed for a little while.

I wasn't stressed and didn't blast my hubby away with crazy energy. In fact, we had a really good, productive talk.

Now as I plan tonight's crazy busy schedule, I think back and then look at the plan, and think back. Is it really necessary that I do everything on this list? Am I over extending myself again? Do these things matter in the long run? What's going to matter the most in a week? That I tried that new granola recipe or that I spent time 100% focused on Hyung and listened to how homesick she is even though she's glad to be back? What can I cross off my list or put off to tomorrow? What is most important today?

How's this for a new goal:

I'd really like to discern what's most important in the long run each and every day.
Spending time in quality pursuits.
Leveraging what I'm good at to the greatest benefit.
Not to benefit me, but to benefit my goals in life.
To benefit the under resourced, the exploited.
I don't want to rescue them. Well, I kind of do, but I can see that rescuing isn't helping, it's just displacing the problem from one location to another.
I want to assist them, and educate those that take things for granted like being able to drive to a grocery store with lower prices.
I want the work that I do every day to benefit those goals, not earn my boss another trip to Paris or Greece or Scotland, or any number of frivolous luxury vacations he's taken.

I want to live in such a way as to be able to look back without regret for having wasted my talents and opportunities.

Thriftips

I logged onto Yahoo! this afternoon and my eye was caught by the "Free Stuff" headline. I am so excited to share these with my hubby, and thought I'd share them here too...
Perhaps you're already aware of this, but this took me by surprise. You can view entire tv shows from Fox and NBC Universal at Hulu.com virtually anytime! I was aware that TBS did this and supposed many others did, as well, but the ones I've researched don't. (ESPN, I don't remember what else!)
I've found these networks that currently have full episodes offered online, and I'll add to them as I find more:
ABC
ABC Family
CBS
History
Sci Fi
TNT
lifetime

It doesn't appear that the following networks offer this:
Disney
Discovery(including TLC, Animal Planet, etc.)
Speed
This is of course a very short list, mostly limited to those channels I can think of off the top of my head that I MIGHT watch something on...very limited indeed!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blocks

So cool! I found this idea from Martha Stewart by a suggestion from one of the blogs I read regularly, Thimbly Things (isn't that the coolest name?)

I seriously have to consider a whole blog of the craft ideas I don't want to forget about!!! (like my Blecipes blog)

Oi.

Now I totally need to yard sale for old children's blocks and books!

8/27/08: this is my new Craftank blog, just for craft ideas!

Meal Plan Monday!

This time I may even link up to the main Menu Plan Monday site! It's definitely worth a visit, I've gotten GOBS of recipes from there over the last few weeks...more than I know what to do with!!

Monday:
Crusty Parmesan Zukes & Summer Squash with turkey burgers.

Tuesday:
brown bagging a second lunch 'cuz we'll both be doing other things

Wednesday:
Smoked Corned Beef and zucchini latkes

Thursday:
CORN (clean out refridgerator night)

Friday:
Cornbread and BBQ Chicken with pasta salad.

Saturday:
No Noodle Crockpot Lasagna and our first "harvest" of sprouts!

Sunday:
More CORN!

Sister, Sister

Wow, the summer went by so fast in some ways and in others, I look back and think there has been so much happening, I don't know how I fit it all in!


My little sister is home, which marks the begining of her senior year in high school. Yes, she's pretty much half my age, and no - she's not really my sister. Hyung (pronounced h-young) is Korean and is going to a private school here in America. My parents are hosting her at their house. She calls them Aunt and Uncle or her Host Parents. At first she called me her Host Sister too, but now it's just sister. And I think it's appropriate. We really have come to be very much like sisters, though neither of us HAS a birth-sister, so who knows, really? LOL.


This little, seemingly innocent life circumstance has prompted me to look back on the last two months since she's been away. Quite by coincedence, I started this blog only days after she left.


This introspection has taken me back to Courage, to Obsession (LOL), to a change in perspective. And I think that became a springboard to so many other things!

Like Wardrobe Refashion, the Quit Now Challenge*, the Buy Nothing (new) Challenge**, identifying good-but-bad-for-you things, establishing Stash Month**, Org Junkie's Monthly Organizing Roundup, the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge, recognizing how I can replace one bad habit by any number of other ones (LOL, but sadly), learning yet again that I need to ask for help, and that often Slow Progress leads to lasting change.



I also did a little rearranging, came to a better understanding of why I don't like my job, realized I could write poetry even when I'm not depressed, (it's just different and doesn't just flow out of me like tears), and had to consider some fairly major life changes (for me).

I really feel that God has been leading me this summer, and my experience with the Cardboard City fundraiser was just one example. It was definitely Worth Experiencing, and was very revealing to me in ways I didn't expect. For example, I really missed my hubby. That surprised me. Really. I haven't held back about how we've been struggling the past few years, and back in May or June we really came to a crossroads: decision time. Stay or Go. And obviously we decided to stay and work on our marriage, but as many of you know, it isn't an overnight thing. That night away from him was quite misserable without him and I totally didn't expect that.

I think about how my hubby and I were when Hyung left last June. We were barely talking, just starting counseling, still afraid to hope. Now we've begun to understand one another better, begun to work together and really gel as a team in a way. It's hard for me to describe, maybe because it's so new, maybe because I don't fully understand it myself yet. But it's different than it's ever been. Ever, in 11 years of knowing each other and 8 years of marriage. Hm.

Perhaps equally profound is the fact that I'm learning, after 13+ years of "dealing with" depression, that I can do things to lessen the impact it has on my life.

And that with just a little nudge, a suggestion, an idea, my whole world-view can change in an instant. That, no matter how much you've got going on, when you put it in perspective, how important is it?


*I had ice cream Saturday night, the first time in 46 days. It wasn't planned, and from the moment our friends said dessert was ice cream, I was conflicted. I wasn't sure if I'd refuse it or not. But I didn't obsess over it and in the end I had a small bowl. It wasn't all I'd remembered it to be, and I no longer crave it! I can drive by an ice cream stand without regret and longing; and I'm REALLY enjoying my mostly-acne-free face!!


**As for the Buy Nothing new Challenge and Stash Month, I have kept pretty much on track. We went to Taco Bell once this weekend and I bought premade food at the grocery store, but other than that, we've pretty much gotten everything we *need* from re-purposing old items or have purchased them used or decided they weren't really a necessity. I do, however have a short list of things I would like to purchase in September. Is that defeating the purpose if we're buying them anyway, just waiting until a new month? Sort of. But I think delayed gratification is good. Especially since we are used to simply whipping out the credit card and getting it when we want it and paying for it for months on end later. This way, we are forced to wait and then we know it's something we'll appreciate more when we do get it...if we still *want* it in September! And as for the Stash Month - I haven't bought a single piece of material, thread, button, nothing! Not even used! Not even on sale! Not Even!