Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Ridiculousness of Wearing a Hate Symbol

Recently, I have raised a stink within our church. Normally, I am not one to cause conflict or confrontation. On this occasion I am the source of the conflict and I proudly stand on that fact. Our youth leader wants to print new t-shirts for our children with the Arabic Nuun on the back of the shirts. For any that don't know what this is let me explain its history just a bit. The nuun is the 14th letter of the Arabic alphabet. It means nazarrah or Nazarene. I has always been used as a symbol of shame or hate against a Christian. Recently, ISIS (you know....the terrorist group) has adopted and used this symbol to mark Christians for execution. They have effectively used this symbol to eliminate every Christian in the city of Mosul for the first time in the history of that city. I don't want my child wearing this symbol and I simply will not compromise on this issue. Our youth leader says that by wearing the symbol we are showing our support for the Christians that are losing their lives. No we are not. We are showing our support for a symbol of hate. I was even told by this youth leader that she was glad that her faith was so much stronger than mine because she was not afraid to wear the symbol and that she was happy that her fear did not come before Christ. No wonder other religions hate Christians if we are all so pompous and judgemental. Persecution comes in many forms my friend. Back to my subject. Let me show you how ridiculous it is to wear a symbol of hate and try to make it mean something that it does not. Picture a group of Jews heading to temple wearing a swastika, or a group of African Americans walking down main street wearing white sheets and hood with KKK printed on them. Both could say that they were wearing the symbols of hate to show their support for those that suffered and died under those symbols. How is that any different than a Christian wearing a symbol of hate that Christians are currently suffering and dying under? It isn't. You can't twist things to mean what you want them to mean. They mean what they mean. A symbol that has always been a hate symbol will always be a hate symbol. I won't even go into all the other problems I have with my child wearing this symbol, but the list is long. We live in dangerous times my friend and Americans are naïve in their safety. We all know that there are sleeper cells of terrorist organizations within our borders and why on earth would we want to give any type of impression to them or anyone else that we appear to side with them?! If we wear a swastika, then we are marking ourselves as white supremacists. If we wear white sheets with KKK and hoods, then we are marking ourselves as white supremacists. If we wear a pentagram, then we mark ourselves as a satanist or a witch. If we wear the Arabic Nuun then we are marking ourselves as muslim terrorists. Period. Thanks for listening to my rant. Blessings, Kat

Monday, March 16, 2015

Homemade Crunch n Munch

The other night my hubby and I were watching a movie and he wanted know something crunchy, salty and sweet. Junk Food. Crunch n Munch is one of his favorite junk foods but because of cost it rarely finds its way into our home. Not to mention the children will find it and inhale it like the air they breathe. I occasionally find it at the discount store for a dollar a box, but the boxes are small and half empty so even discounted it seems like a waste of money. So I started looking around yesterday to see what I could do to satisfy that next craving for something crunchy that he might get. I wound up having all the ingredients to make my own crunch n munch. I made a ton of it and it probably only cost me the same price as buying one box. Here is the recipe that I used.

About 7 cups of popped popcorn
2 cups of almonds
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/2 cup of maple syrup( can use corn syrup instead)

I popped the popcorn, enough so that I had about 7 cups or so after popping. Then I placed the popcorn and the almonds in a very large roasting pan. I then placed the sugar, butter and syrup into a sauce pot and brought it to a boil. I let it boil for a minute or so until it was good and creamy. I then added the vanilla and stirred really well. I then poured some (not all)over the popcorn, sprinkled with salt and mixed. I kept repeating this process until I was out of caramel and all the popcorn was coated well. Then I place it in a preheated 250 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I kept stirring and mixing the popcorn every 15 minutes while in the oven. This came out really well and is soooooo good. There will be enough for everyone to have a snack for the whole week. He was delighted when he got home and was greeted with a kiss and his favorite junk food. Incidentally, he said it was better than the store bought stuff. It takes so little to make him happy! Blessings all, Kat

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Frugal things Done Week of March14

Well, I am not really sure how frugal this week has been other than I haven't spent any money. So here is what I have accomplished or am considering accomplishing in the near future.

1. I washed some more Ziploc bags for re-use.

2. I washed all the laundry this week in cold water and hung every load on the line to dry. Incidentally my dear sweet hubby put up some more clothesline for me so that I can hang more loads at one time.

3. I am still making curtains for the windows to keep the cool air in and the hot summer sun out and then the reverse for this coming winter. I have re-used so much for these curtains that I think I have about 7.00 in the cost so far and have made curtains for 7 windows, 3 of which are very very large and currently have 1 more very large one almost finished. After this next one is done then I only have 4 more to go. There are a lot of windows in this house!

4. I made some more bathtub and shower cleaner with dawn dish soap, white vinegar and baking soap. If you haven't tried this it works better than anything else I have ever used. It also costs far less than any commercial cleaner.

6. I planted kale, beets, carrots and 3 different varieties of lettuce last weekend. I already see green sprouts where the kale and lettuce were planted. Not really sure if the carrots will do anything as I am sure that it will get too warm too soon, but they were seeds that needed to be used anyway so I figured it couldn't hurt.

7. I had 2 goats kid this weekend and so with an excess of colostrum and an excess of eggs the dogs were fed a meal of rice heavily mixed with eggs and goat colostrum with a little hamburger grease thrown in for good measure. This mean't that the chicken would stretch for another day.

8.I have been doing really well timing everything so that the water heater is only on for a couple of hours a day. I also cleaned the sediment out of the bottom of the water heater by draining it. Make sure to turn the power off to the water heater before you do this. I just cut the main breaker switch for the whole house. This should make it run more efficiently while it is on.

9.With it still being cold at night we are also turning the freezer off and then turning it back on in the morning. We have had no problem with anything in the freezer. I don't expect we will be able to do this too much longer though at the temperatures rise. That is ok because we are also cleaning out all last year's veggies and such from the freezer to make room for this year's stuff.

10.We are considering going with a new program offered by our power company that might save us a good deal of money. I say might because we will not be able to run the AC this summer for very long during the hours of 12:30 to 7pm Monday thru Friday. That is the only thing that has me worried. Although we should be able to keep cool at least in the den where we spend that time anyway. Then part of that time we will be at the pool so won't be home. I think we will manage to do ok, but still....I worry because summer can be so bloody hot and humid. We get a greatly reduced rate for not using a large amount of electricity during that time. However, whatever we use during that time will be extremely expensive and we have to commit to trying this program for a year. So lots to think about.

So I guess that is about it for this week. Blessings, Kat

Monday, March 9, 2015

Organize the Pantry to Save on the Grocery Bill

One of my biggest pet peeves is to let my pantry get out of order. Why you ask? Well, the reason is because I wind up spending more on groceries than I need to because I don't know what I have or in what quantity I have it. When I make my grocery list based on what I need for the pantry then I tend to spend less money. But if my pantry isn't organized it is hard to tell exactly what I need and what I don't need. In that instance, I basically go shopping blind and I purchase stuff that I think I might need but don't. However, things that truly did need to be replaced because I was low or out don't get replaced and I find myself without them. Then I might have to pay full price for something! This can be tough on a really tight grocery budget and ours is really tight right now. So, here are the few little things that I do to really save money on our grocery bill and keep our pantry well stocked for emergencies.

1. Organize the pantry, putting like items with like items. Things that might be all together, like condiments, I keep a sheet on the wall so that I don't have to go through each bottle. When I pull the last one I write it on the sheet so that I know which condiments to look out for. Now, 1 bottle of something will last quite some time so this gives me time to find it on sale. If you go through it quickly then you might want to put it on the list when you pull the next to last bottle. This also helps with those things that you don't buy but once a year. I buy a year's supply of mustard at a time. By the end of the year I need to start keeping track of how low I am getting.

2. I go to the grocery store no more than twice a month. Most of the time the second trip is simply for some fresh stuff that we aren't growing right now or to hunt for discounted meats to put in the freezer. The first trip is the main trip for the whole month. Before I go I head to the pantry to see what is low. Now, I rarely ever let my pantry shelf get below two items if I can help it. So, if I only have 2 cans of black beans then black beans go on the list. If by some chance something is lower or completely out then I put a star by it. This tells me that this item is not an option. I also put down how many of the item I need. With beans, not only do I keep dry beans in plenty, but I like to have several cans on hand for a quick fix. For those that cook dry beans it is not a quick process. It takes forever, to soak and cook etc. There have been times that I needed to come up with something quick and canned beans have been my rescue.

3. Now I take my pantry list, combine it with my standard list on the refrigerator (cold stuff)and sit down at the computer to go over the sale ads for the local grocery stores. I write down what is on my list and what grocery store has a sale on it. I also write down what the sale price is, the regular price and the size item on sale. Sometimes the larger size is on sale, but two of the smaller size might still be cheaper anyway. This also allows me to go to my discount grocer first where I might get it cheaper than the sale price from the regular grocer.

4. Armed with my lists from the grocery store and my list of "must haves no matter what" (hopefully, not many of these) I am off for a morning of grocery shopping. I head out early in the morning because you can get the best meat deals at that time by getting the discounted meat that has to sell that day. I head to the discount grocer first to purchase anything on my list that is cheaper than the retail grocer and any other bargains that I find. Last month I purchased Jimmy Dean sausage for 1.00 a pound. Better than the sale price at the retail grocer the following week.

5. When I find a really good deal then I stock up. Like the sausage I bought 10 lbs. which will last us a couple of months. I always have some room in my budget for stocking up on good deals. Even if you only build into your grocery budget 10 to 15 dollars a month that can add up to a good little stockpile. I have about 50 dollars built into my grocery budget. This amount allows me to stay well stocked while spending the least amount of money.

All of this sounds like it takes a lot of time to do, but really I invest about an hour before grocery day getting prepared. I know for the most part exactly what I am getting and approximately how much I am spending. It keeps us on a tight budget and I rarely run out of things. When I do, it is usually because I didn't do my due diligence in keeping things organized as they should be. So get those pantries organized and start saving money at the grocery store. Blessings, Kat

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Hate to Complain...but...I'm sick of Winter

Ok, really....I know I have no right to complain. Many are suffering much worse than I am. If you live up north you expect winter to be cold, or you should. That is the tradition isn't it? Bitter cold up north for long periods of time, some cold down south for short periods of time. By this time of year I should be able to feel spring coming. Cold nights, with afternoons in the 60s or so. This thing of highs in the 30s and 40s is for polar bears, and I am not one. I want to get in my garden, but with the temps in the 40s and the wind blowing like mad it is cold. I know, I know many out there are laughing at me. I just don't do well with cold weather. I just can't get warm, no matter what I do or how much I put on. My thyroid has something to do with that, but I think part of it is just me. My hubby is from southwest Florida and right about now he is ready to move to Mexico and his thyroid is just fine. I am ready to get in my garden and I am ready to feel some sunshine and I am ready to open the windows in the house for fresh air. If I did that now, I would be a popsicle and the air certainly would not feel refreshing. Of course, this is our third day of cold wet rain which doesn't help the situation at all. I hear the birds so I know spring will come eventually. I just hope it isn't one of those years where we go from cold winter temps, to a week of spring temps, to 6 months of hot and humid summer temps. I just don't handle being cooped up inside the house for too long. Please, please spring come soon because...well....I want to go outside and play! That is my whine for the day, hope all of you up north get a break soon from this awful winter weather. Blessings, Kat

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tightwad Accomplishments February 22

So this past week has been really busy around here working on our biggest way to save money right now....our electric bill. Our bill has been going up this past year. I didn't really sweat it much because I knew that quite a bit of it was simply because I didn't feel good. When you don't feel good you get lazy. But when our power bill jumped an astronomical amount, I sat up and paid attention because we can't pay super high power bills. So, after checking all the appliances and having the power company come out to check that the meter is working properly we found that our two worst areas are the central heat in the den and the freezer door seal (at least we think it might be the seal). Our wood stove insert is in that room so why are we using that heater? Because maintaining a wood burning fire is hard work and some days I just don't feel like I have it in me. So yes, not feeling all that great leads to laziness. So here is what we have been doing and what we are implementing now that I have become the electricity Nazi.

1. We are heating only the room that we are in at the moment. We currently spend most of our time in the den, and I have discovered over the last couple of days that if I close the doors to that room that I can maintain a fire in the woodstove much more easily because it doesn't have to be a big roaring fire to keep just that room comfortable. A small blaze on a bed of hot coals keeps us comfortable. This allows us to turn off the electric heat in that room (it is a large room) and turn off the propane heaters in the rest of the house until we need them at night. Already we can see a difference in electricity useage on the meter. A big difference.

2. We have been doing some more caulking. This is an ongoing all year job on this old house. Just when we think we have all the caulking done the house moves or we just simply find more places. I am sure we aren't done yet, but we have gotten a lot more caulking done.

3. We have ordered a new seal for the freezer door, it is an old freezer and I am sure the seal doesn't work as well as it once did. Power company guy said it was pulling 10 kilowatts every time compressor came on. If it is cycling enough then that is a considerable amount of power. Meanwhile, it is cold enough that the freezer can be turned off at night and then turned back on again in the morning. We plan to replace the freezer at some point but simply can't do that right now.

4. The water heater is being turned off at night when we don't need it and then we turn it back on about mid day so that I can do any warm water laundry that needs doing and everyone can take showers. After the last shower of the evening it goes back off.

5. We had the refrigerator set at the factory recommended setting, but we turned it up a notch (warmer) so that the compressor cycles less. So far so good, everything is staying cold enough.

6. I have used the dryer much less. I have still had to use it because jeans just don't dry well in such cold temps and my husbands uniforms look better coming out of the dryer. But shirts and such have done just fine on the line with just a quick 10 minutes on air dry in the dryer.

7. I have been hanging window quilts made from old blankets and comforters for the past several years in the winter. I really have never gotten around to making them look decent. It really has been just a down and dirty quick thing. So, I have been not only making them look nice, but some are thin, so I am making them thicker, making them hang better ( like normal curtains), putting white on the outside so they can be used in the summer, and installing a rod and pulley system so they can be opened and closed like blinds. This way they will be able to stay up all year, will reflect the summer sun as well as keep the temp. in the house comfortable all year. The plus is that I won't have to dread putting them up anymore and trying to figure out which ones went over which windows. This should help on year round electricity useage now. The comforters and quilts I got for free from friends and family or very cheap at goodwill several years ago. And remember I said that I am always taking sheets that family members are going to throw away. Well, all those white sheets (some I got at yard sales) have come in handy for lining the curtains. The colored sheets have come in handy for the interior of the curtains. So, the fabric that I am using has cost next to nothing. Maybe 3.00 for the sheets that I bought at a yard sale.

8. I bought some boneless pork roasts on sale and brought them home and ground them up myself at less than half the cost of ground beef.

So, that has been our week of savings. Most of it centered around getting our electric useage under control again. Hope you have a great and frugal week. Kat

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Window Quilts Really do Make a Huge difference

Normally, every fall I get out my window blankets and my bubble wrap and my large sheets of plastic and get to covering the windows in this old worn out house that we live in. I then spend days bubble wrapping, hanging, etc. It is a lot of effort to putting up the window coverings in a house with a lot of windows. Our bedroom alone has 9 large windows. I didn't feel good this past year and just didn't have a lot of energy. I got a few windows covered and then gave out. I really didn't think it would make that much of a difference. I guess I was wrong. Our heating bill is astronomical. I mentioned the 9 windows in our bedroom. They leak like sieves. You can feel the cold air blowing in. The propane heat doesn't get all the way back to our room. Most years it is no big deal because we have an electric blanket and we like the room cold anyway. But this year it has been frigid because the windows didn't get covered and the air blows in all night, no matter how tight you think those windows are shut. They just are old, beyond old...ancient. So we have been running a small electric heater set on low when the temps outside are really cold. Well, I discovered in my search for why our power useage has gone up so badly that those window covering really do make a difference. We thought it could be the water heater. So last night at 9:30 pm, I shut off the breaker to the water heater and went to bed. The little electric heater was running in our room. This morning at 6:15 am we had used 160kw overnight. The only thing different was that the water heater was off and that electric heater was on. So anytime we use that heater we use 160kw a night. That is a lot of power over the course of a month, when over half the nights are cold enough to need it. Last year we rarely used it because the windows were covered. This year we have used it a lot because of lack of covering. This past month and the month before are our coldest months so our power bill jumped dramatically. I did it to myself and I will never not put up my winter window coverings again. Spring please hurry, we are going broke trying to keep warm. Blessings, Kat