Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Cost Saving

My first day off from work has been pretty productive - I have started the office, the filing cabinet was first, and it currently looks like a cyclone hit it - I am hoping to have that post ready tomorrow finished. I was able to file my income taxes so I am closer to my goal of purchasing a new unit which is part of Financial Goals. I will have to put my money up and wait for Mr Man to get all of his W2's and then file as my refund is not quite enough. I did a mock return on him based on numbers from his last checks and looks like we might even be able to replace one of the TVs.

Another part of my goals was to to save money - one of my plans to save money is to reduce monthly expenses - so in a previous post I had learned about streaming TV. I am trying out streaming with DirectTv Now but am disappointed that the streaming freezes up on the computers but seems to work on our cellphones. We do have a fire stick coming and it will interesting to see how the streaming acts with that. I had read the reviews and the consensus is that these issues are growing pains. I know that HBO Now - I can stream on computers and cell phone, no issue.

I did fulfill another goal of cooking more. Tonight I made stuffed cabbage, I used the below recipe but made some modifications because tomatoes do bad things to Mr. Man these days.

Bev's German Cabbage Rolls

12 leaves from lg. cabbage
1 lb hamburger
2 c rice - cooked
1 onion - chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce ( I like to use a lot more)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 c beef broth
2 tbsp flour ( I used more but may need to cut it back)
1 onion - sliced (I omitted this time)
1 can whole tomatoes  ( I omitted)

Place leaves in boiling water. Boil until leaves are pliable. Drain. In a separate container, mix hamburger, rice, onion, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning, and 1/2 cup beef broth. Blend well. Spoon mixture onto cabbage leaves. Fold in half and roll from end. Secure with toothpicks and place in casserole. ( I don't use toothpicks and this time I didn't use all the rice)





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In a skillet, combine remaining 1/2 cup broth, flour, sliced onion (omitted), tomatoes (omitted) and seasoning. (Tonight I melted a stick of butter, about 3 tablespoons of flour, 1/2 cup of broth) Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Allow mixture to thicken (mine was too thick - I will add some water next or reduce the flour). Pour over rolls and cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.









As you can see, there wasn't enough gravy - now grandma gave me the idea for the gravy but she cooks her on top of the stove. I prefer to bake mine - so next time I'll either add some water or reduce the flour.I am a southern woman but I must confess making gravy is a skill that alludes me. I can never make gravy with grease but seemed to do better with butter.  It was very tasty, just the same and I love pairing it with mashed potatoes.

I had some left over rice and thought about what I could do with it because part of cost savings is to not waste (we won't talk about how much cabbage I wasted with trying to get the leaves off, but what I do have left I'm gonna fry it, that is what we southerners do :)) Sorry, I got derailed. rice, yes, that is what I was talking about. Well, rice pudding jumped in my head and I was excited at the thought as I love rice pudding.


The recipe I used:

Rice Pudding

3/4 c. of medium grain or long grain rice (I used minute rice)
1 1/2 c of water
1/2 c of sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
cinnamon (sometimes I use it, sometimes I don't)
1/4 tsp of salt
4 cu of whole milk

First bring the rice, the water, and salt to a boil over med-high heat.

Then simmer covered until water has been absorbed (approximately 15 minutes)

Next stir in the milk and sugar and cool uncovered over medium heat for 30 - 40 minutes. Stirring frequently especially towards the end of cooking.

Note:

The pudding is done when the rice and milk have amalgamated into a thick porridge-like consistency.

This does not need to OVERCOOK

Now remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Turn into a bowl or cups. You may sprinkle cinnamon on the top if you like. Next COVER with plastic wrap directly on surface "IF" you don't want a skin. Let this COOL.

Here it is in my favorite vintage bowl. My bff, Kristine and I found this bowl one day "popping tags" as she refers. I love this bowl, it even has a lid and it's my favorite color. I reserve this bowl for rice pudding and bread pudding (I can even put it in the oven). I don't know about you, but the dish that I put my creation, adds to the joy of the cooking and eating experience. Do you have any favorite dishes or bowls? What do you do for cost savings?


Monday, January 23, 2017

Closet inspiration

The new year and winter time always make me want to nest and do projects to improve my home. So this week I am taking my customary week off from work for the 7 days of my birthday and this is when I usually like to do my "projects". I was especially inspired by Funky Junk. My laundry is really big and it serves as a laundry room, a closet, the kitty bath/kitchen, and strorage, and ..., and ..., and... well, you get the picture. The fact that I spend a lot of time in there means that I prefer it to be soothing but instead it seems that stuff just keeps showing up in there resulting in clutter, which has been getting on my nerves.

I think that kit on her blog would be perfect but I have to make what I have work without spending any extra money. If I had my  way I would have this:




But this not what I am working with, so I went through the clothes and believe or not - managed to get rid of two garbage bags full of too big  pants and capris. I then grouped the  remaining pants, capris, and skirts by color.

In the before pictures, the comforters on top looked like I just balled them up - I probably did to keep them from falling :)



You can't hardly see the floor there is so much junk and that cage Mr. Man insists on keeping in here since his garage is a hot mess it takes up way too much space

The clothes are all jumbled together and just a hot mess - I got irratated just trying to lay my clothes out and I found some clothes I did not realize I had. I must admit I hated getting rid of some of my pants that I loved but I felt no need to keep them if they were too big. I found some of the pants fit in the waist but bloused out at my stomach - very unflattering...so..bye bye



There was so much stuff crammed in there that the litter box and food were almost in the middle of the room. I am the kind of person that I like the floors to be open. So I did some rearranging of all that stuff.


Here is the finished product - keeping in mind the same crap is still in there as I do not dare to get rid of Mr. Man's stuff - I think he is hoarder :)







Everything is grouped together by color and the comforters look neat. Still struggling with folding them to make them look really good but this will work :) I might look into storage bags or bins for them on the top shelf.

The other stuff is against the wall making more floor space, which makes me really happy.



Here is the other side of the room with the washer and dryer and to the left I have some shelving - I did not get a picture of how messy it was before but I moved some stuff from under the clothes rack to this little nook between my shoe rack and the dryer - these contain Mr. Man's shoes





I want to get some more baskets to put those linens on the top shelf in and the second shelf I am proud that I found some pretty boxes and there I have my boots. The basket beside the boot boxes, I folded all my scarves that were just stuffed in them. The bottom shelf contains old towels for drying Gizmo's feet off during rain or "shop towels"  I found the long basket and put the "shop rags" in there and the smaller basket inside contains my belts. I will be checking out the Dollar Tree to see if they have any neat storage ideas.

I use the hanging bar to hang my clothes for the next day and when I do laundry I hang all my blouses on it to dry as I don't like to dry most of my clothes.




The below is standing in the doorway - I really do love this cabinet - this was built by Aunt's father in law back in the 70's when they built her house. She redid her house and I asked if I could have this - this came out of her kitchen with the original counter top.



Standing in the door way - you can see the floor




Another view from the door way - still not completely happy about the coolers but it made more room for that huge cage.



I think I would also like to get some big containers to store the dog and cat food  - I found some like these:

This is a neat idea


But the below is what I had in mind but I think the trash can idea is pretty neat and most likely cheaper but I cannot stand the smell of the food so I am thinking the trash can might not be sealed enough to keep the smell in...





Any winter nesting you are working on or just organizing? How do you store things in your laundry?  Do you have a catch all room?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Financial Goals - Checking In


Really, you can achieve your New Years Goals  or so I keep telling myself.  I believe the best way to achieve goals is be accountable and keep the list in priorities. You know I had already forgotten some of the things on my list. This week's blog will be about how I am doing so far and help me stay accountable and give us both support because...


Let's see how I am doing with my Financial Goals


  • Save at least $1000 for the year after the next goals
  • Replace air/heating unit - praying the emergency heat holds up until income tax time
  • Mr. Man's truck needs new motor
  • New windows for house


Mr. Man lost his job right before Christmas so this has put a little damper in my goal of saving but he took a drug test for a job yesterday and today has an interview with another company so we should be able to get back on track. 

The casualty of losing my satellite service for lack of funds made me evaluate other options and I learned from talking to my younger employees about all kinds of different streaming TV options. I guess this is why smart TVs are so popular now.


I did find that you can get HBONow and was able to finish the Game of Thrones, I learned this from the younger employees at work - they sure do know a lot about technology and things like this. How did I get out of the know? There are also technology that you purchase like the Kodi that is a box and you can get everything. 

Perhaps I should let go of the satellite long term and do this instead. I mean if I keep HBONOW for $16 a month and then do Hulu or something similar for $20 a month - and pay $36 a month versus almost $200 a month....I also found Sling TV and Direct TV Now. Mr. Man and I are leaning towards the Direct TV Now as Direct is what we have now and we like and trust the service, plus I must admit that I am a loyal AT&T customer.  Direct TV Now offers my local and the channels he and I watch the most, HGTV for me and he likes Fox Business, History, and the Discovery Channel and HBO is only $5 and Starz is $9 - still saving around $100 a month.

Another way we can cut costs is for me to give up my land line telephone, which will also free up $45 a month. I am most upset about giving this up - not sure why - I can hear better on it and just like it better than my cell phone but it does not justify the additional cost.   Pinterest article suggestions says that I won't die without my land line :)





July  will be a money freeing month, the refrigerator will be paid off and so will our cellphones. That will free up another $150 a month, almost $300 back in the house if I follow through. 

 I cannot believe we paid over $800 for our cellphones. $800 is almost my house payment, yet I did not blink an eye at the time, when we bought two. Wow $1600 in cell phones, wouldn't that have looked nice a savings account? Make you wonder how we, as a society ever got to think this was okay. Do you ever think about trying to live off the grid? Uh oh, could my way of thinking be changing? Am I learning? I just do not want to worship money but balance it.

Filing Chapter 13 one year ago with only four more to go of only getting a partial of my paychecks is really teaching me the value of money.  I have never really had a relationship with my money - gave it and spent it freely - I always thought there would be more. Honestly, I really have not gone without, God has always provided  what I needed but I think I pushed that too far and needed a lesson.

 Funny thing is that even though I blew my money, I did not live extravagantly, I live in a modest house and drive a modest car, hand me down furniture but I was paying over $500 a month in cellphones, TV, and Internet alone. My electric run about $300 a month until I got on budget billing which has finally leveled off to about $200 a month - hopefully running the emergency heat will not negatively impact my budget. I think my mistake was not putting any money back - so when I had an unexpected expense it pulled me under and then I made huge mistake of getting cash advances, multiple, to the point that I was only getting partial paychecks but unlike being in bankruptcy, my bills were not getting paid, like my house payment. 

I feel like such a loser sharing this with you but, well, this is who I really am, the girl with two Master degrees, one in Accounting, and well, the girl who made bad decisions and did not respect my blessings and took them for granted.  I am now desperate to build a nest egg, my company is creating a new company with another company and not sure I will make the merger. Entering the job market at 46 after being at the same company for 18 years - well, that is another post all together :)

Still waiting on W2's to file our taxes and we are hoping to have enough to replace the unit and Mr. Man's TV that blew up. I also need to save for 2 new tires. Winter nesting makes it hard for me as I look around the house and think of things that I need  want.

What ways do you cut costs? What is comfy range for savings, the least amount that must be in savings?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Building Relationships - Checking In


Really, you can achieve your New Years Goals  or so I keep telling myself.  I believe the best way to achieve goals is be accountable and keep the list in priorities. You know I had already forgotten some of the things on my list. This week's blog will be about how I am doing so far and help me stay accountable and give us both support because...


Let's see how I'm doing with Goal #3

3) Build relationships

Still working on the gossiping - the bible is full of scriptures about gossip - Pinterest search on gossip yields a lot results - some of my favorites are below. I tend to run my mouth when I am angry and I am guilty of this more than I really like to admit. This is still a work in progress but I can tell you that when my tongue was things - my brain was asking me if this builds someone up or tears them down. I think that awareness is a good start for this goal..

This 1-minute devotion addresses the fact that we sometimes don't like other Christians but we can still love them in the Lord.:










I still haven't volunteered for Loaves and Fishes but I did make a loaf of banana bread and my favorite breakfast casserole for Room at the Inn hosted by my church - I did not get a picture but I make this every year for Christmas morning and it is a treat that I look forward to each year


Breakfast Casserole

1 lb hot sausage
1 lb regular sausage (I like Sage)

1 pkg hash browns, shredded
1 c. Cheese, Shredded (I like Cheddar)

6 eggs
2 c. milk


Crumble sausage and cook. Cook hash browns according to package (I always struggle with this part). Mix sausage, hash browns, and cheese. Spoon into greased casserole dish. Mix well eggs and milk. Pour over sausage, hash brown, and cheese mixture. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

I usually freeze left overs in individual containers and take to work for my breakfast.

Last weekend my grandson came to visit - he was all about his Posha (Posh-eeerrr) this time. He is such a gentle soul - we did some baking together, he helped me clean the glassware I had on top of my kitchen cabinets and his chair pulled up beside mine as I climbed the counters to get the glassware down to get the dust bunnies from off top of the cabinets.


Bless his heart, he got hurt a few times helping Posha, or Posheeeerrr as he now says it really country, he smashed his finger in my wooden hamper, somehow hurt his head pushing his chair, and burnt his arm on the pan. I have to get better about watching him and warning him. He is so sweet, he kept telling me that he loved me and would list people he loved and then say, and they love me. My daughter told me she tells him all the time the list of people him. I think that is a great idea and good way to reinforce love to him. He did talk about his late father and I am glad he hasn't forgotten him.




I think I am on the right track for this goal - just need to really think about what I am doing and saying. What are some of the ways you avoid gossip? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Productive with my Time - Checking In


Really, you can achieve your New Years Goals  or so I keep telling myself.  I believe the best way to achieve goals is be accountable and keep the list in priorities. You know I had already forgotten some of the things on my list. This week's blog will be about how I am doing so far and help me stay accountable and give us both support because...

For Goal number two:

2) Be more productive with my time


Well, I haven't done as well with this one. I am still on Facebook quite a bit. I haven't started any new books as I have been totally distracted  obsessed with Game of Thrones and spending a lot time binge watching - I am now in Season 6 though. This is another reason excuse of why I also didn't blog last week <embarrassed smile>. Since Mr. Man lost his job right before Christmas money is really tight and satellite was the first casualty of not enough money to go around so I will be having to fill in my time without TV, not really a big deal as HGTV was my only real addiction before Game of Thrones. I  have been reading the Bible though.

I have also done some cooking - last weekend Jaxen spent the night with me (part of my other goal) and we did some baking - My grandma's Pumpkin Roll and we made some banana bread (forgot to take pictures of us baking together, wish I had a good camera my phone camera sometimes works and sometimes doesn't)

Pumpkin Log Roll


3 eggs
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pecans ( I omit these)

Filling:

1 cup powdered sugar
6-8 oz cream cheeses
4 tsp margarine or butter
1/2 sp vanilla

Beat eggs at high speed for 5 minutes. Add pumpkin, sugar, and lemon juice. Mix dry ingredients together and fold into pumpkin mixture. Pour onto greased jelly roll or cookie sheet with small edge, (I line mine with parchment paper and spray with Pam). Sprinkle with 1 cup finely chopped pecans (I omit). Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. After removing from oven, turn directly on a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Roll up in towel. Beat filling ingredients together. When cake cools, unroll and fill with this mixture. Re-roll.

As a child when my grandmother made this, I only liked the filling  - as an adult I like it all - Jaxen does not like icing - so surprising to me

Easy Banana Bread

3 1/2 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups bananas, mashed
1 cup pecans, chopped (I omit)

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees
2. Combine ingredients in large mixing bowl
3. Pour batter into 2 prepared bread pans or 1 prepared bundt pan
4. Bake for 1 hour or until firm and golden brown (mine usually take 1 hour and 15 minutes)
5. Cool on wire rack for at least 15 minutes before turning bread onto tray



Mr. Man loves this banana bread and it smells wonderful baking. Jaxen, my grandson, really liked it as well. I think I need some new bread pans as the last couple of batches chunks of the bottom have stuck to my pan. I like for it to come out perfectly, ya know? I am still amazed at how combining simple ingredients can produce such wonderful things. I think that is why I really like baking, creating something from nothing, like an artist. (Closest thing I would ever get to being an artist) I think I like baking more than cooking as I don't really like to stand over anything and stir or monitor.

Overall, I'm doing okay with this goal - need to work more on reducing my Facebook time and start reading more. I found an article on Social-media-addiction which was a pretty good read and the best part was I found the website calm.com. I love meditation sounds and enjoyed playing it while I read the Bible and think I will listen to it a lot going forward. My two favorites are the Mountain Lake and Summer Meadows, they both have birds in the background which soothes my soul. I think I might do the free 7 days of calm.

What habits do you have that waste too much time that you want to get rid of? What soothes your soul?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Running Walking Goal - Checking In



Really, you can achieve your New Years Goals  or so I keep telling myself.  I believe the best way to achieve goals is be accountable and keep the list in priorities. You know I had already forgotten some of the things on my list. This week's blog will be about how I am doing so far and help me stay accountable and give us both support because...



So let's see how I'm doing with Goal Number One


1) Run/Walk 1,000 miles this year

I am not doing badly on this goal - I joined the ilovetorun Gold Challenge and log my activities





So for the year I have completed 36.8 miles of 1000 mile goal. 


This Week | Month | Year
36.8






It is hard to stay focused on my running with the colder weather. Friday I had my gym bag but just wanted to stay in my now cold office all bundled up and eat - yes, I just have the desire to eat - everything. It doesn't help that one of my huge addictions is eating out and I love just about everything.

I am going to have to somehow make leaving the office at lunch and going to the gym become as fun to me as walking in the parking lot for lunch which I love.  I really do enjoy being outside and not sure how I can bring this joy to the gym but my grandma always said I could do whatever I set my head.  I did find this article on Pinterest for a maintenance plan for runners, I was surprised to see that yoga is in on the list. I did Hot Yoga a few times and really liked it (I love warmer temps anyways) but money is the reason I stopped going and that reason is still an issue

I think a series and research on motivational things I can do to stay focused on my goal will be .....well.....motivational :) 

One motivation are the results..

I never thought I would get into these cords my grandma bought me - I actually have to wear a belt..



This was me in 2011



I have to be careful though it seems like once I start to see progress I resign myself it's done and slip back into my old habits. I do receive compliments at work on the changes they can see in my weight, which is definitely motivating but I also have to remember the scale does not define how fit or healthy. I can judge by the way my clothes are fitting but most importantly how I feel not only about what I see in the mirror but do I feel good



How do you stay motivated to exercise and eat healthy? We both just have to remember, Really! You can...



Friday, January 6, 2017

Nesting - Dreams



Really, you can enjoy being shut in for the winter. Winter is not my favorite time of the year, I feel like a caged animal not being able to get outside and so I start wanting to make changes to my house or I refer to it as nesting.  I have always considered myself unique but when I really think about it I am usually in style and it seems when I start liking something, so is everyone else. Have you ever wondered how we all seem to like the same things at the same time, resulting in trends or what is in style? For instance, I am finding the older I get that I want to de-clutter my house and live simply.

Turns out the new trend for this is called hygee. I learned about this word from a blog that I follow. Another trend is the farmhouse style, which I suppose Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV Fixer Upper contributed to this trend greatly. So here I'm thinking I am liking vintage and next thing I know, it's a trend. I'm a modern farmhouse kind of girl and I love a lot of windows, and I swoon for sliding barn doors.

 I currently have a  70's ranch and have so many dreams of what I would like to do it. I really like brick flooring but think I might hurt myself on them


My kitchen feels dark so I would love to open the roof and put in a sky light


One thing I have noticed most of the pictures that I pin have white cabinets -while I think the white would definitely brighten the space - I worry that I could keep them nice and white - I am a messy cook. I also like exposed brick - like on this island - 


My current finances and 2017 goals of saving money are not in balance with one another so  I am not going to be able to make any changes but I can also dream and research.Dreaming and researching and planning is how I keep my sanity in the winter, I do clean out closets and and become particular about things.

A few things I would like to accomplish  are replacing my kitchen faucet and handles on my kitchen cabinets. I keep teetering on whether or not I want to paint my cabinets, I am scared of ruining them and also Mr. Man says our cabinets are crappy and not hung evenly and that painting would only point out all their flaws - <gasp> what if he is right? SHHH I would never tell him that :)


He also thinks my choice for knobs, latches are ugly, I want the vintage latches like these for my cabinets and cups for my drawers
I will most likely have to forgo the latches and get these which will be okay because I like this - I would really prefer a long bar  like my aunt has on her cabinets

I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest, Houzz, and fellow bloggers. 

A few years ago my bathroom was my nesting target and I took the bathroom door off and have exposed shelves -




only problem is there is an unsightly unit return - I use the top of  as a shelf as picture here




I have been trying to figure out what to with it - tile it, paint, put faux doors but I am really leaning towards this peel and stick that look like distressed wood I found this 




I think this will look good with my flooring - only problem is that gap which has collected 40 years of dirt that I can't get reach. How do you think that will look?



What keeps cabin fever away or that are you are dreaming of doing? Where do you go get your inspirations?