My family's journey down the road less traveled....

Friday, December 21, 2012

Life goes on.....

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."- Robert Frost

The past few weeks have been awful, if I'm to be perfectly honest.  I've put on a brave face, shared placating words, passed tissues and held hands.  My crying and grieving was done privately and while it's lessened, it's far from over.  My heart was once again ripped open last Friday upon hearing the news from Connecticut.  I grieve for those families.

One of the hardest things about grief is seeing that life goes on despite how you feel.  People are achieving goals, winning awards, celebrating events and they are happy.  I've found myself caught up in their happiness only to remember my grief and feel guilt.  I don't need Dr. Phil to tell me that's it's a normal part of the rational side already knows's my heart that needs the reminder.

Over the past week, I've tried to avoid anything serious.  No drama movies, no heart-wrenching books and I've done my best to avoid the news channels.   I've been trying to find the comedy in life, knowing my Dad wouldn't want me to be sad.  We introduced out kids to the movie Tommy Boy and laughed ourselves silly.  Some of my best laughter has come at my own expense and today, I hit the jackpot.  My Dad would be laughing his head off over my adventures!

What do you do when 4 days before Christmas your dryer decides to die, you have a huge load of wet clothes in the washer and no way to get to a laundry mat???  Either I'm a genius or a complete hillbilly!!!

Laughing all the way.....................Deborah

Saturday, December 08, 2012


I had to say goodbye to my Dad yesterday.  Today my heart is broken in a million pieces.

James H. Reed 12/28/1929-12/6/2012

He was gentle, hard working, loyal to those loyal to him, generous in every respect and loved by more people than he realized. There are eight of us kids and countless grand and great-grandchildren who will no doubt think of him every time OSU plays Michigan, when we indulge in a chocolate covered cherry, hear a twisted fairy tale or eat his famous soppy.  He has dried my tears, given advice, picked up me, cheered me on and encouraged me to fly.  Most importantly, he has loved my three children with his whole heart.  He will be greatly missed.


Monday, November 26, 2012

There's ham, I say there's ham a fallin' mom...

Weenie dog is having a Chicken Little moment, except instead of the sky falling, it's ham!!

Hamming it up.................Deborah

'Twas the Monday after Thanksgiving....

Here's hoping everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and got your fill of turkey, football and shopping.  The Oompas and I spent a day baking in preparation of the big is Ginger's first ever apple pie.
Leave it to her to decorate with a squirrel and acorns.  Sigh, she's sooo weird!!!  We spent Thanksgiving with my brother and his wife, my mom, Pops and my oldest nephew.  It was mellow but good.  We were missing my other dad, unfortunately he spent the week in the hospital.  He's recovering well and should be going home today or tomorrow.

Keeping with family traditions Ginger and Boy Oompa and I put up the Christmas decorations on Friday.  This was the first year they were old enough to really be helpful.  Grumpy Teenager Oompa stayed as far away from the living room as possible.  It's a phase...I hope.  It was funny to hear them complain about how short the tree is!!  I told them to remedy the situation they should stop growing...they didn't like my idea.    

I've been reading all these Facebook posts and other blogs, seeing other families' traditions and I need to have an Elf on the Shelf.  Have you seen these??  Creepy little stalker elves that snitch to Santa!!  I'm kinda in love.

The rest of the weekend was a blur of football games, Christmas movies, using up leftovers and letters to Santa.  Girl Oompas go back to school tomorrow so we're running a few errands then spending the day cleaning house and getting laundry washed for the week.  You know...the fun stuff.  Maybe I'll even squeeze in a little Cyber Monday shopping!!!

Recovered from my turkey coma...............Deborah

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Coffee, Cafe, matter how you're spelled, I love ya!!

My mother-in-law is to blame for my love of coffee.'s all her fault!!  She can brew it strong enough to wake the dead from the 12th century.  I'll openly admit I'm not in it for the taste of the coffee as much as the caffeine jolt.  It's rare that I'll drink a cuppa joe without adding a lil sumptin' sumptin.  French vanilla creamer makes me big time.  I've been working over the past year to reduce my refined sugar intake and was appealed at the amount of crap in most liquid creamers.  We're talking long lists of crapola ingredients that are hard to pronounce.  Yuck!!

I'm putting down my bottle of CoffeeMate and making a stand...oh, yeah and my own creamer!!!

14oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
14oz Half & Half (can save even more money and use milk...I prefer whole milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract.

Pour all ingredients into a jar and stir or shake till well blended.


**The handy-dandy lid on the jar is an awesome product called reCap.  Pourable, shakeable, BPA free and available in for regular and wide mouth canning jars.  Totally awesome.**

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.....

Pumpkins are a very under-rated and under-utilized fruit.  Yes, fruit!!  To most people they're only good for jack-o-lanterns, pies and chucking.  I love incorporating pumpkin puree into tons of dishes.  Of course, it lends itself best to those of the baked variety but toss a few spoonfuls into your meatloaf, spaghetti sauce or chili.  It'll add a little sweetness and a ton, and I mean a ton of fiber goodness.  Tasty and good for you!!

Here is one of my kids' favorite recipes with pumpkins.  There are a tons of extras you can add into this to up the ante health wise, like wheat germ and I've listed healthier alternatives in the notes.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 1/2 cup sugar (I use all brown sugar but you can mix and match with white sugar or sugar substitute)
1/2 c vegetable oil**
4 eggs
1 1/2 can pumpkin puree...NOT Pumpkin Pie Filling
1/2 cup water or juice
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used 2 tsp for extra flavor)
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour (doesn't have to be white flour but I think all wheat might be a little too heavy for the recipe)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (if you can find the whole nuts and grind your own, it's even better!!)
1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (could sub in any dried fruit)

Preheat oven to 400° and grease muffin tins, use paper liners or those silicone ones.

Mix sugar, oil, and eggs.  Add in pumpkin and water.  In separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.  Add in wet mixture and chocolate chips stirring well.  
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake 20-25 minutes.  

From the land of pumpkiny goodness..........Deborah

**in most baking recipes calling for oil you can substitute with a myriad of things: applesauce, fruit purees, fruit butters, juice, yogurt, other oils, or butter)

Friday, November 16, 2012

9 years is a long time....

It's been 8 years since I've attempted to go grocery shopping with a baby in tow.  8 very long years.  Any of those crazy voices in my head telling me that another baby would be amazing have been forever silenced.  Friday is grocery shopping day and now that I have my 2 new little charges, nothing changed.  We headed off around 10am and like usual hit all three stores on my route.  However, upon returning home at 12:30pm, I'm much more exhausted than ever before!!  Lugging the car seat and keeping track of a 5yr old who decided to hop his way through the day was a nightmare.  If Boy Oompa hadn't come along, I would still be at the store!!

I went over budget by $8.79 but scored some really good deals.
Meijer: Hershey Baking Chips 2/$4 and I had two $1 off coupons= $1 per bag.  Plus if you buy three you get free brownie mix.  mPerks free toilet paper (6 double rolls) and Hawaiian Punch (for Thanksgiving) $1.48.
Kroger: Dawn $1.97 (bought 2 and had $1.25 in coupons), Crest $1.99 ($0.75 coupon) and all their veggie/chip dips were $1 each.

Got all the goodies I need for Thanksgiving, plus began the stockpile for the baking season!!

Chilling in my baby free zone...............Deborah

Sunday, November 11, 2012

So many Veterans, so little time......

Thank you just doesn't seem like enough.  No words of thanks, elaborate parades or solemn moments of silence seem substantial enough to express my gratitude to all of the brave men and women who have died for and defended our country.  Here are just a few of those amazing people I'm proud to call family:

My father-in-law-U.S. Army
My Dad (top right) and all his buddies-U.S. Army

Uncle Mike-U.S. Air Force

Uncle Louis-U.S. Army

Cousin Kevin-U.S. Navy
Cousin Renee and her Hubby Rob-U.S. Air Force

Gratefully yours...............Deborah 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sunshine and Groceries....Under Budget!!!

It is an absolutely beautiful day here in Ohio.  The sun is shining and it's a balmy 70 degrees.  Almost unheard of for November.  I spent the morning working at the camp...they were severely short staffed and with the Board of Directors holding their quarterly meeting at the camp they needed help.  Those extra dollars for my pocket were helpful as well.

This past week was good too....I'm back in the childcare business again.  I am watching the most adorable 13 month old little girl and her just turned 5 year old brother.  I get to cuddle a baby, work with the little boy on preschool basics and keep up on lessons with Boy Oompa.  There is going to be a little adjustment period but if this week is an indicator, we'll be just fine.  Did I mention how adorable the baby is?  If not....she's cute.  Really.

On an even brighter note, I came in under budget with my grocery shopping!!!  $118.77..... Oompas were free!!

Kroger Deals: Milk $1.25/half gallon, Pepsi 10/$10, Batteries 1.99 each, Farm Rich Snacks $1.99(after 2 coupons totaling $2.50 off each), Domino Sugar 4lbs $1.99
Meijer Deals: mPerks 5% off all items, Tennessee Pride sausage $1.79 w/coupon, chicken breasts $1.87lb, Angel Soft 12 double rolls $4.99 w/mPerks coupon.

Weekly Menu:
Chicken Sandwiches and fries
Pork Burritos
Potato Skins, Cheese Sticks and Pizza Snacks
Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

As always, I picked up a few things for breakfasts and lunches over the course of the week and will spend a few hours tomorrow morning getting those ready.

$1.23 under budget...............Deborah

Friday, November 09, 2012

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong...

Can you tell which things is not like the others,
By the time I finish my song?

Rockin' out Sesame Street style..............Deborah

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Old McDonald's Farm has NOTHING on Mine....

Yes, Old McDonald had a larger variety of livestock than I do, but my creatures are waaay more interesting!!  See, his animals weren't brave enough to think outside the box stall.

Early this morning one of my Americana hennies ran Cousin Eddie the cat away from the coop then pecked his head a couple of times for good measure!!  Attack hens??  I see a new line of self-defense sweeping the nation.  No need for expensive alarm systems or lengthy dog training programs...arm your home with Protector Hens.  They'll guard your loved ones and provide a tasty breakfast!!

Later I witnessed a little species confusion as the cats ate the scratch grains and layer pellets.....

while a few hens took over the cats' winter home.

Confused here at Old McPatrick's Farm.................................Deborah

Sunday, November 04, 2012

In the Words of Martha Stewart, This is a Good Thing....

This weekend has brought it's fair share of good things.  First, I got 30 cloves of garlic planted in my garden. Boy Oompa helped me rake the leaves from the maple and apple trees to cover each raised garden bed.  This will act as a nice insulator for the garlic and as it breaks down it'll add much needed nutrients back into the soil.  I'm hoping it'll decrease the spring weeds too.

Secondly, the photo I won over at Thy Had Hath Provided arrived!  Thanks again to Jane and her talented brother Darin.  His photography is amazing and what's truly beautiful is that until the end of the year he will be donating all profits to Serving His Children, a charity designed to help malnourished children and their families in Uganda.  You'll get a wonderful piece of art and help a worthy cause!!
12x12 Canvas
Lastly, I have finished staining all of the gourds that I received from my sister.  I've been working on turning them into really unique birdhouses.  Once they're all dry, I'll be adding the leather cords for hanging and will try my hand at embellishing them with feathers and beads I've collected.  Pictures to follow!!!

Thankful for Good Things................Deborah

Friday, November 02, 2012

Friday Baby....

Welcome to the latest installment of "Deborah bashing her head against the wall because she can't seem to come in UNDER budget!!!"  My total for this week was $128.52!  I'm getting better and $8.52 over sure as heck beats the $40 or so from a few weeks ago.  Still, with the decrease in our income I'm watching every penny.

Kroger had some decent deals: Pork Loin $1.88/lb, Annie's Mac & Cheese $0.79, Creamette Pasta $0.79, Peanut Butter $1.99 and Pepsi 10/$10.  They were out of the B1G1 roasts advertised.  Meijer's deals were a little harder to come by: Chicken breasts $1.99/lb, coffee creamer $1.99 and Ore-Ida fries 2/$5 with a buy 2G1F making them $1.67 each.

Here's this week's haul, complete with photo bomb by the Oldest Oompa:

Weekly Menu 
Friday: Fast Food Dollar Menu (included in grocery budget) 
Saturday: Pork Loin with Apples, Julienne Potatoes
Monday: Beef Au Jus Sandwiches and Fried
Tuesday: Ginger Oompa's 12th Birthday-she requested Chicken Alfredo
Wednesday:Freezer Meal (I will raid my freezer and pantry)
Thursday: Leftovers

I will take a few minutes tomorrow or Sunday to whip up a double batch of pancakes and muffins for the week's breakfasts and lunches will consist of subs, tuna fish sandwiches and leftovers. 

There are a few things happening on the job front for both Mr. Awesome© and myself but for fear of jinxing them, I'll keep quiet till they're certain.  Regardless of the outcome, things are looking up and I'm looking forward.  

Over Budget.............Deborah 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls....

I love cinnamon rolls.  If marrying them was an option, I'd be Mrs. Cinnamon Roll.  Seriously.  However, my only experience with them comes from whacking that silly tube on the counter and taking the pre made little rolls out and squeezing the icing from the plastic packet.  I got brave this weekend and ventured into the world of homemade.  Uh, what in the world took me so long!?!?!

Ginger had a few friends over to celebrate her birthday early and I spent Saturday morning making batch after batch of pizza dough in my bread maker.  I found a recipe for rolls that could be made in the machine too and took a chance.  I assembled the rolls, cut them and placed the pans in the fridge till this morning.  All I had to do was pull them out when I turned on the oven to preheat and they had plenty of time to rise a little before baking.  Super easy.  Like ridiculously easy.

The only change I'll make next time is more cinnamon and I'll add in nutmeg.  I ♥ nutmeg.

1 cup milk (heated approximately 1 minute in microwave)
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature and beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
/2 cup granulated sugar

5 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

Put ingredients, in order into bread machine.  Start dough cycle.  Mine mixes dough for approx. 12 minutes then goes into a rise period with heat to help dough along.  You can always remove dough right after mixing and allow to rise in a warm place.

Cinnamon Filling
1/2 cup butter, melted or softened
1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar

4 to 5 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Once dough has risen, roll and stretch into a rectangle (approx. 15in by 24in).  Brush with 1/2 cup melted/softened butter and sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture over dough.   Starting with long edge, roll up dough; pinch seams to seal. Cut dough into 1 1/2 in pieces and place in slightly greased baking dish.  Rolls should not touch.  I was able to get 18 rolls out of this recipe.  At this point you can either allow them to rise an additional 20 minutes or so then bake or cover and pop in the fridge.  I guess you could also freeze them too. 

Cream Cheese Frosting (double batch) **Can make day ahead too**

8ox softened cream cheese
1/2 c softened butter
3c confectioner sugar
3 tsp milk
2 tsp vanilla
Beat all ingredients with mixer until well blended

Pull rolls out and place in warm place to rise about 20 minutes prior to baking.  Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes.  Immediately top with frosting.

Now to conquer orange rolls!!!!

In cinnamon roll heaven............Deborah

Friday, October 26, 2012

Orange Chicken

This recipe is a little labor intensive but well worth the effort!!

Tempura Chicken

  • 2lbs chicken in bite sized pieces
  • Tempura Batter (1/2c flour, 1/2c cornstarch, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 egg beaten, 2/3 c ICE water) Combine in bowl, mix well, then add chicken.

Heat frying oil to approx. 375 degrees and fry chicken pieces in batches until cooked.
Remove to paper towel lined tray and keep warm.

Orange Sauce

  • 1 1/2c water
  • 1/4c fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 c rice wine vinegar(can sub red wine vinegar)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1c brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger root
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Combine all ingredient in saucepan, mix well and bring to a boil.  Mix 3 tbsp cornstarch and 1/4c water then slowly add to sauce to thicken.  

At this point you'll have your cooked chicken pieces and sauce made.  It's time to combine all the goodness. Heat sesame oil (or whatever you have) in large skillet/wok and stir-fry veggies of your choosing.  I prefer broccoli, carrots, onion and on occasion water chestnuts.  Once the veggies are cooked dump in the chicken and sauce to heat through.  Can garnish with chopped green onions added at the last minute...they are a nice touch if you remember!!

Sauce can be made ahead of time and freezes well.  If I am organized and prep my veggies first, then my sauce and finish with the chicken the meal goes together smoothly. 

Yeah Baby...$114

It's Friday and ya'll know what that day!!  Today was a little different as I had Ginger with me instead of Boy Oompa.  All the kids got the day off school since my amazing mother-in-law was up visiting from Georgia and we only got one day to spend with her.  MeeMaw trumps school.

Kroger had a a few 10/$10 deals; generic pop tarts, Pepsi, cream cheese, sour cream and our favorite bbq sauce Sweet Baby Ray's.
Meijer's deals; Angel Soft 6 double rolls for $2.40, Thomas Bagels B1G1 working out to $1.90 per pack, chicken thighs $0.99/lb.

Weekly Menu
Orange Chicken and Rice
Pizza and Chips (for Ginger's B-day party)
Baked Potatoes
Chicken Pot Pie
Black Bean Burgers and Fries
Chicken Scampi

Grocery haul this week: $114 even!!

Frugally yours.....Deborah 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Oddities to make you laugh..or at least scratch your head in wonder

I need a chuckle today so here are a few odd photos I've taken over the past few months:
Tricked out van in the grocery store parking lot

This guy's a real pumpkin head!!!

Carnie making fun of the oldest Oompa on the Drop Tower

Mmmm, Lego McDonald's and Pizza Hut

Self-Portrait of Boy Oompa

Flat Mikey enjoying a little hiking in Georgia

My perplexed brother and his mustached stalker wife

Smell ya later...........Deborah

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Feeling blah, so I made taco seasoning!!!

I'm feeling a little punkish today.  It's been a roller coaster of emotions the past few days.  I'm trying to keep a little normalcy to my days which I'm hoping will help keep me and everyone in the house on an even keel.  I know the Oompas are stressing about the recent changes in employment status and I'm doing my best to keep their fears calmed without giving false hopes.  Fine line to walk.

Keeping in line with a little normalcy, I've decided to post a cost saving recipe that also tastes delicious.

Taco Seasoning-this makes about 4-5 packets worth but tastes sooo much better than that store bought crap!!

1/4 c flour
1/4 c chili powder
4 tsp cumin
4 tsp oregano
4 tsp cocoa powder
4 tsp salt
3 tsp dried minced onion
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients well, store in airtight container.  When you are ready to use: add 3-4 tablespoons of seasoning plus 1/4-1/3 cup water for 1lb of meat.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Square One....We Meet Again!

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning.  The end is where we start from- T.S. Eliot

In summary for those of you not intimately connected with my family and it's story;  Mr. Awesome© lost his job of 8 years back in the fall of 2010.  The job market for metal fabricators was saturated due to an overwhelming amount of laid off workers in that field. Jobs offers were few and far between and what did come his way were grossly underpaid given his almost 20 years of experience.  

Thanks to a good friend (who was in the same position) he got a lead on a job at a local car manufacturer's research and development facility.  Finally, he'd found a job he truly enjoyed going to everyday that paid him well....really well.  Of course, there was one glitch.  He was only a contract worker (read temp).  In spite of his status as a temp, the powers that be put him in a position to work in the robotic weld cell, which it was adamantly said a temp would never work.
Recently, this major car manufacturer found it necessary to cut their budget.  Not the budget cutting we're used to....240 million in cuts.  The build schedule for the rest of 2012 got pushed to early 2013 and contract workers dropped like flies.  Every Friday guys would leave the building not knowing who would receive "the call" over the weekend.  Mr. Awesome© was assured by many higher-ups that he was safe. Given the fact that he was in a position that had never been held my a contract workers, his job was secure.  He was given busy work to do to fill his days.  All seemed right with our world until Saturday.  He got "the call".

Honestly, I think I'm still a little stunned.  Serves me right for relying on the words of others as gospel.  No situation in this world is can change in a instant.  We're a little better prepared for this round of unemployment than the last, I think.  Seems ironic timing since I've just left my job!!  Not that the pennies I would be able to earn from now till mid-November's shutdown would actually make a significant difference, but you've gotta love the timing.

Looking forward, Mr. Awesome© is contemplating a few new ventures to get out of fabrication all together.  He's spent the past 20 years breaking his body down with manual labor and enough is enough.  We're looking into him going back to school for robotic welding then possibly on to a consulting firm.  He's even discussed working as a guitar teacher.  Who knows?  We've got a blank page in front of us.

Live from Square One......Deborah

Saturday, October 20, 2012

17 days and counting.....

17 days...that's when we'll turn the TV and radio back on in our house.  I hate campaign season almost as much as I hate bikini season.  All these words come from candidates mouths yet they never really say anything.  All the trash-talking commercials reminds me of playground antics.  I keep waiting for a commercial in which one candidate will profess about the other, "Yeah, well, he's a booger eating poo-poo head!!"

Obviously, I have strong opinions on who should lead our country and about what I feel should happen in the future.  I'm not going to try and persuade you to join my club because we all have to make up our own minds.  I think it's important for everyone to make their own decision not one based on what their spouse, parents, neighbors or friends think.  I strongly believe in the "agree to disagree" theory among friends.

However, sometimes it's hard to know which candidate is most in line with your way of thinking.  So to help, I would like to share this neat little quiz. is a website that allows you, the voter, to read through a series of issues and choose your stance on them.  It then matches you up with the candidate whose politics best matches. My only suggestion when taking the quiz is to click the option Choose another stance as it gives you a more in depth choice instead of just yes or no.   I would also suggest that you choose the additional questions too, as it gives a more accurate picture of where you stand on issues.

Since I love diversity among friends I would encourage you to share your results in the comment section.  One rule: NO HARASSMENT of each other!!  We have to remember, we're all Americans and in this together.  Each of us, through our own devices, wants the country to be prosperous.

Decidedly yours..........Deborah

Friday, October 19, 2012

Being Frugal is a HARD!!!!

All right boys and girls....I came in $18.02 over budget this week.  Boo!!  Hiss!!  Bah!!!  This just makes me want to plan better and re-adjust my menus.  I am going to incorporate at least one vegetarian meal per week and start making the Oompas snacks from scratch again.  Once upon a time, if the Oompas were hungry for an after school snack, I had frozen homemade mini pizzas in the freezer for them.  I have gotten away from that due to my work schedule but with my newfound free time*snickers and laughs* I can get snackies made that will last a few weeks.

Weekly Menu

  • Friday: Alfredo and Pesto (pulled out a little leftover chicken too)
  • Saturday: Beef Tacos with chips and guacamole
  • Sunday: Chicken Salad Sandwiches with  roasted potatoes
  • Monday: Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup and fries (Oldest Oompa choir concert and Ginger has volleyball game...both at the same time!!)
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti with yeast rolls
  • Wednesday: Pork Burrito Bowls
  • Thursday: Leftovers
Total $138.02 with almost 15lbs of meat, Mr. Awesome's© Pepsi (Kroger 10/$10), a package of free lunchmeat and Aldi's new Hazelnut Spread(just like Nutella only $1.99!!!)
I was able to get a good deal on this bad mamba-jamba too!!  I had a $5 off any Rubbermaid product MPerks digital coupon which brought the price to $20.86 with tax.  I did not include this in my weekly budget, it gets categorized under household expenses.  I am actually excited to do a little cleaning tomorrow and try out my new toy!!

Looking over my receipts  I am proud of my savings.  If I had purchased all these items at regular price with no coupons my bill would have been $214.69.  That's a savings of $55.81.  Not shabby but I know it can be better.  Will research new menu ideas and try again next week!!  Send me your favorite low cost and/or vegetarian meal idea!!!

Frugally yours...........Deborah 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fire Cider Tonic

You're Invited!!!
What: Swimming Party 
Who: Raw apple cider vinegar, chopped onion, grated horseradish root, jalapeno pepper, 
cayenne pepper, garlic cloves, grated ginger root
Where: Clean glass jar
Ginger root not pictured because, well, I'm a dork and forgot!!
Mix everyone in a clean jar, put a lid on it and let it steep for 4-6 weeks.  I gave my last batch a swirl every few days when I passed through the pantry.  To use, strain liquid through cheesecloth or fine strainer.  I would drink 1-2 tablespoons 2-3 times per day when I had sinus congestion or a cough.  I am going to use it this year when I feel the symptoms coming on to see if it shortens or even thwarts an attack.

Fire Cider is an immune-boosting tonic with antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It can be taken daily as a preventive and also at the onset of colds or flu. It’s an expectorant. It breaks up congestion and helps us ward off respiratory ailments and sinusitis. It also helps to stimulate sweating and moves toxins out of the body, which is beneficial in cases of colds, flu and mild fevers.
Fire Cider is also beneficial to the cardiovascular system. Several of the ingredients support optimal cardiovascular function and are used by many to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It increases circulation and warms the body, and thus is valuable in cold winter temperatures and for those who frequently experience cold extremities.
Additionally, as it warms the organs of the digestive system and stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, Fire Cider is an excellent tonic for the digestive system.
Many of the ingredients in Fire Cider have anti-inflammatory properties, which prove useful in the relief of pain. It can be taken internally and applied topically to sore muscles and joints. Some have used it to successfully treat migraines.
Vinegar Rocks.....Deborah 


Like millions of other folks on the planet, I suffer from procrastination or will suffer from it.....later.

I have a list as long as my arm of chores I need to get accomplished before the really cold weather and white death begin falling from the sky.  I'm an expert at making lists.  It's the whole seeing it through and being able to mark that particular job off the list where things get hazy.  I'm trying an experiment in psychology...if I post my list to the public will I feel the pressure and therefore be compelled to get 'er done??  Time shall tell.

Here is my list in no particular order.  As I finish each task, I'll come back and cross it off and give an update.

List of  things I don't want to do (because I'd rather be bundled up in my comfy chair watching Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife) but need to do:
  1. burn weeds in garden and plant garlic
  2. rake leaves and put in garden beds(free mulch/compost!!!)
  3. nag Mr. Awesome© till he fixes tractor 
  4. mow the yard one last time
  5. replace missing shingles on shed roof
  6. clean out deep freezer
  7. re-organize pantry/possibly put up new shelves??
  8. finish gourd birdhouses
  9. do something with psycho mean rooster (he's going on 3yrs old so the meat will be really tough)
  10. remove temporary fencing from around chicken coop
  11. buy and put up snow fence(with all the flat land we get massive drifts in the front of our house burying the cars and front porch)
  12. pick up straw bales and insulate chicken coop
  13. make cat house for Greaseball and Cousin Eddie to live in this winter
  14. help Boy Oompa clean out his rat cage and give the rodent a bath 
  15. Make batch of Fire Cider Tonic **stock up on tomato juice to make taking this awful but effective remedy a little more pleasant**
  16. Research herbal sleep tincture I saw over at Rosemary's Remedies *source herbs needed to make it*
  17. Make Elderberry Cough Syrup for upcoming cold season (" I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries." )
  18. clean cabinet under the kitchen sink aka mouse hotel...blech.
  19. place mouse bait in crawl space of house (harvesting has begun and those little suckers are running to my house for cover)
  20. MOST IMPORTANT-Spray bug killer around foundation of house and in/on/under/around/near any crevice where those horrific Wolf spiders can make their way into my house.  
  21. get flea medicine from vet (*waiting on my last paycheck for the $$)
  22. take both dogs to groomers (big dog is too big for me to want to tackle and little dog needs his nails clipped but gets aggressive when I try) *research costs and make adjustments to budget for $$

That's what I can think of right now...may add a few more as they come to me.  Now comes the hard part.  Putting on my big girl panties and gonna knock 'em out!!!

Accountably yours.................Deborah 

Crusty Goodness...

No doubt there is something in every person's life they've avoided trying because of hearing horror stories of it's difficulty.  In this modern age there are so many short cuts one can take that it's possible to avoid this awful task for your entire life if not at least many years.  In the grand scheme of life some of these are relatively simple things while others rank on the side of monumental.  The amusing part is that once you suck it up and try this thing you've built up in your head as impossible,  it's usually way easier than you expected.

We need to remember that the human race exaggerates a million percent!!  Who wants to admit they had difficulty accomplishing a simple, mundane action.  I've totally been shown up by my kids while trying to do things on the computer and it makes me feel like a moron.  However, I'd feel worse if I had given up altogether but it's still takes you down a notch when you have to turn to your (then) 5 year old and ask for help with Photoshop.  Just like the fish your hubby caught last weekend grew in size each time he told the story, so does the arduousness of a task each time you retell the story and your inability to do it.  Confused yet?  I am, I think.

The whole point of my little diatribe is that I've heard for years how precarious it is to make a proper pie crust from scratch.  They're such a pain to roll out, they're either too wet or dry, you need a marble slab to roll it out on, etc..  Um, yeah...calling bull on this one!!  My menu this week called for chicken pot pie.  As we all know you can't have pie without crusts and I blanked while at the store and forgot to pick up pre-made pie crusts.  Seeing as I'd already blown my budget for the week I womaned up and made my own.  Holy puff pastries Batman, it was EASY, tasted fantastic and cost, literally, pennies to make!!!

 $2.50 for 2 refrigerated pie crusts vs.$0.77 for homemade ($0.15 in flour,$0.02 in salt & $0.60 in shortening)

Crustily your......Deborah

Pie Crust

Double Crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup chilled shortening
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4-8 tsp ice water
Cut chilled shortening into flour and salt with pastry cutter until mixture is in course crumbles.  Add 4 tsp of ice water and mix with a fork.  Add additional water one tsp at a time until mixture hold together. 

Divide dough in half (make one a little bigger than the other for bottom crust).  Flatten into 1/2 inch disc and wrap in plastic.  Chill at least 30 minutes or freeze for later use.  

Roll out dough on lightly floured counter or between 2 pieces of parchment or plastic.  

Fill crusts with whatever makes your skirts fly up and enjoy!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Free at last...

This past weekend marked my last working at the camp.  I pulled seriously long days last week preparing for the annual apple butter festival.  I baked, organized supplies, cooked and canned apple butter till I was ready to drop!!  I'll know on Wednesday when I go in to drop off my financial report, keys, credit cards and final time card whether all my hard work on the festival was worth it.  Despite my aggravations toward the camp's lack of communications, I really hope this fundraiser was a success.

I'll admit we called an audible on Sunday evening.  My plan had been to provide a hot, nutritious, home-cooked, cost cutting meal but I left the camp around 6pm and headed straight to the nearest Little Caesar's pizza to take advantage of their $5 deal.  I even got an extra pizza for lunches today!!!  I knew 5:30am would come too soon and I wouldn't have the energy to pack a decent lunch for Mr. Awesome© and the girl Oompas.  Looks like I've added another $19.40 to my weekly budget and it was worth every penny!!!

Today, the first day of this new chapter in my life, was spent tying up loose ends.  I had a pile of laundry the size of Mount Everest that needed tackled, I'd lost my kitchen counters to clutter and junk but most of all I needed a day to rest after 12 hours on my feet selling pies and making small talk to strangers!!  Around 2pm, I got two back to back calls from boy Oompa's Cub Scout leader and youngest girl Oompa's volleyball coach.  Looks like my evenings this week are filled with running kids to Pack meetings and practice.  Sure beats cooking for 50!!!

Off to volleyball practice....Deborah

P.S.-youngest girl Oompa will now be going my the moniker "Ginger" on account of her red hair and the fact that she more than likely is soul-less!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Grocery Haul....

We did well this past week on what groceries I bought last Friday, with the exception of Mr. Awesome's© Pepsi addiction.  He vowed to cut back after I showed him the cost of drinking one 2 Liter a day.  Yes, he's already aware of the nasty health consequence.  He tried to cut back, I think, but plowed through the five 2 liters I bought on sale and ended up purchasing another 2 for $3.00.  At least he's trying!!  I bought seven this week but will be hiding three in the pantry for emergency backup.

I went $11.90 over my $120 budget for this week which is a bummer but given the state I was in while shopping it could have been much worse.  Today was a rough day.

Meijer had a decent 10 for $10 get the 11th item free sale: Pepsi, hand soap, ziploc baggies, Rotel, and deodorant.  They were out of family pack of their pork ribs for $1.49/lb.

Most important items I picked up today:
 I spent two hours hunched over an open fire stirring 30 gallons of apple butter while listening to a crazy woman rant and rave.....this will help me forget...hopefully.

Weekly Menu:
Friday: Baked Potatoes (using up the last of the leftover chili as topping)
Saturday: Beef Au Jus sandwiches(was supposed to be BBQ Ribs) and Chipotle Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
Sunday: Chicken Tacos (bought split breasts for $0.99lb and will cook Saturday and shred)
Monday: Black Bean Burgers and Fries
Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie (realized as I typed this I forgot pie crusts...will be making them from scratch!!)
Wednesday: Smoked Sausage and Fried Potatoes
Thursday: Leftovers

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Cherry Coffeecake
Egg, Sausage and Cheese Burritos

Off to ease my aching back.....Deborah

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jack Frost nipping at my nose...

Farmer's Almanac long range weather forecast doesn't show any significant cold periods or snow until November 6th-8th.  Not sure Mr. Jack Frost got that memo....

Chilling out.........Deborah