Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday Money - In God We Trust

Over the weekend, I spoke with both my mother and my mother-in-law about how they handled money years ago, specifically about what they did when they needed food but had no money. (Now before any readers panic, Mrs. Calla Lilly is not in this situation.) I came away from both conversations with a lot to contemplate, but what struck me the most was the realization that we trust in Visa rather than in God.

My mother's response was that they simply did without or made do with what they had. They never ran up a tab at the grocery, even if it meant going hungry for a little while. They accepted their lot in life and simply made do. They also never stopped for treats because they kept treats at home, realizing that ice cream at home is a lot cheaper than DQ.

My mother-in-law's response was similar, but because of their faith, came from a slightly different angle. One time they had no money for gas or bus fare and my father-in-law had to get to work. So, he went to the street and prayed for someone to pick him up. Someone did.

O.K. now I know that I trust in Visa more than God. God's strength is made perfect in weakness, but we will never see the glory of His power in our lives if we are continually striving to meet our needs through our credit cards. How many blessings have we missed out on because we jumped ahead of God?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I shouldn't be surprised, but my bread did not sell. My only regret is that I bought the magnetic board for my mailbox. My husband likened the whole idea to Lucy trying to make money selling her homemade Mayo - I had already thought of that. :) The board is now being used for our weekly menu planning and is on the frig. Also, we are now having French toast for breakfast with my leftover bread. YUM!! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Blue Collar Cooking

I am woefully behind in teaching our daughter everything she needs to know about cooking. She knows a lot about cookies and cakes, but not much about meals. Life is just too busy, and yet, I am determined to conquer!

My family has very simple tastes in food. Casseroles are a rare item on our menu as my loved ones cannot abide having their food all jumbled up together. They tend to love what I affectionately dubbed "white trash food." I was quickly overruled by my dear husband who christened our fare "blue collar food." When I first married, I had visions of cooking gourmet meals for my groom, but alas, he loved fish sticks and Hamburger Helper. Now, mind you, my family loves my cooking better than anyone else's, but I must keep recipes simple and "unadulterated."

Hence, I have begun letting our daughter prepare "blue collar food" on a regular basis. Tonight's menu is tacos along with chips and my killer salsa (which dd will make). So, don't let the idea of teaching your child to cook daunt you; start simple. Simple is nice. :) Posted by Picasa

19 minutes - how long working parents give their children

By BECKY BARROW, Daily Mail 23:55pm 19th July 2006

A typical working parent spends just 19 minutes a day looking after their children, official figures revealed yesterday.
The startling research shows the devastating impact that working full-time has on children who hardly see their parents.
With less than 20 minutes spent with their parents every day, this is only enough time to eat a quick breakfast together or have a couple of bed-time stories.
The Office for National Statistics looked at nearly 4,950 people over the age of 16 in Britain to find out what they do all day.
The findings make grim reading for working parents who already worry that they spend too much time at work - and too little at home.
Parents who work full-time spend just 19 minutes every day "caring for [their] own children", according to ONS's "Time Use Survey", published yesterday.
A further 16 minutes is spent looking after their children as a "secondary activity", but this means that they are doing something else - such as the weekly supermarket shop - at the same time.
The findings come at a time when record numbers of women are working as huge mortgages and soaring household bills force them to earn a living.
Official figures show that 12.6million women have a job, compared to just 8.5million in the 1970s.
The ONS looked specifically at working women in Britain and what they do during a typical 24-hour period to create a typical "Diary of a Working Mum".
They sleep less and work more than any other "type" of woman - and still have to do about two-and-a-half hours "domestic work" every day, it reveals.
A typical working woman gets nearly 40 minutes less sleep every night than a full-time mother who gets more than nine hours sleep every night.
This is because she gets up earlier to travel into work every day, or spends time every night doing a long list of domestic chores before going to bed.
On average, a working woman toils at work for over five hours a day, although this figure appears low because it includes holidays and weekends when no work is done.
Recent research showed that most mothers with young families would prefer to stay at home and look after their children.
A survey of working mothers found that just six per cent wanted to work full-time, according to Prima magazine.
Half wanted to combine bringing up their children with a part-time job, while more than a quarter wanted to be a full-time mother.
They were asked: "In an ideal world, what would you like to be?" Twenty- six per cent said they wanted to be a "housewife and mother". The most popular response, given by 50 per cent, was to be a "mum who works part-time".
Maire Fahey, editor of Prima, said: "In the 1980s, we thought we could have it all and aspired to high-flying careers and happy families.
"But the cracks are starting to show. Family life is suffering and something has got to give."
The new ONS survey shows that life is also extremely tough for fathers with young families, particularly those whose youngest children is under the age of four.
They sleep less, works more and do more "domestic" work than any other "type" of man, such as one with older children or one with no children.
A typical father whose youngest child is under four gets less than eight hours sleep a night and does more than three hours of domestic chores every day.
They are also working more than one hour a day longer than their male colleagues who do not have children.
Overall, the ONS found that a typical person's 24-hours is mostly spent sleeping, working and watching television, which are the top three activities.
A woman will spend 8.3 hours asleep, 2.4 hours watching television, DVDs or videos and 2.2 hours working.
A man will spend eight hours alseep, 2.8 hours watching television, DVDs or videos and 3.5 hours working.
Just 24 minutes in 24 hours is spent reading, a figure which drops to just 10 minutes for younger people.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Possible New Business Venture

This morning I baked sourdough bread simply because my starter was ready. I kept thinking that I wished there was someone who needed this bread. Then a bolt of lightening hit me between the eyes - why not sell it from my home?! So, after I dropped our daughter off to work at VBS, I stopped at Wal-Mart and bought a dry erase board with magnets on the back ($5). I took the sign, now proudly advertising my sourdough bread, and attached it to our mailbox. I will only put out the sign if I have something to sell. If this little idea takes root, I will add other baked goods, salsa, or even meals to order. As far as baked goods go, I would not bake what we were not willing to or able to use that week in case it did not sell. This could be great at Christmas time, as I love to make all sorts of cookies, but don't need many. Any thoughts? Do I need a liscense? Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"[I am] a hardened and shameless tea drinker, who for twenty years diluted his meals with only the infusion of the fascinating plant; who with tea amused the evening, with tea solaced the midnight, and with tea welcomed the morning.
-Samuel Johnson
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Almost Poor

I have in recent weeks been conversing with quite a few ladies who all complain of having debt problems. I must confess that we, too, are indebted. The average American knows nothing of true poverty, but we know a lot about being in debt. Thanks to credit cards, Americans owe an unprecedented amount, and our debt continues to grow. It is a hole that only seems to grow deeper, as we all wait for some event in our lives that will cause the "hole" to cave in on us for us to become truly poor.

In light of this seemingly universal problem for Americans, I thought it would be nice if we posted things we can do for free, whether for entertainment or out of necessity. Here is a beginning list. Please comment with your ideas.

Hang clothes out on the line.

Read a book aloud.

Play a game together.

Visit with a neighbor - internet neighbors do not count.

Place an internet ad to sell your extra vehicle (how many do we really need).

Read your local newspaper online rather than subscribe to it.

Go to your local library to check out books, gain internet access, or look at magazines.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Here are some snaps from our daughter's 16th birthday sleepover. Posted by Picasa
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Pound cakes. Posted by Picasa
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Sorry this one is blurry. They are rose bud shaped cake (strawberry). Posted by Picasa
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Here are some photos of Gram's cabinet redone. I cannot get Picasa to load the before photos, so you will have to imagine it as white, peeling, and covered with black mold spots - ick! The cabinet now sits in our daughter's room and is filled with some of book treasures. Posted by Picasa
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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

This month we entered a new age. We dispensed with our land line phones and now rely solely on our cell phone. It's a little scary because we have a limited number of minutes, but we do have unlimited nights and weekends. The house also seems a little quieter than usual and a little more peaceful. Having a cell phone was deemed necessary due to safety issues when traveling these days, and our land line just seemed redundant - especially when we factor in the costs. Now, if we could just simplify our car situation... Posted by Picasa

Time Saver?

Yesterday, I wanted to do something on the computer that should have taken only five minutes, but the computer had something else in mind. I found myself spending two hours "fixing" the computer; time I would have rather spent otherwise engaged. It made me wonder how much time this "time saver" actually eats up. What would I be doing if there were not a computer in my life (besides hopelessly trying to balance my checkbook because I stink at math)? Does this little box connected to an unreal world really make my life easier, or is it just something else to maintain? Something to think about... Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ignorance is Bliss

Do you ever wish that you didn't know certain things? Like Oreo cookies are bad for you? Or that your money seems to be quickly disappearing? Or that wars are going on? Or that red food coloring comes from bugs?

There are many things that I know, thanks in part to the internet, that I would be happier if I didn't know about them. True, these are things I might need to know for my well-being or safety, but they are not things things that put a smile on my face.

What does put a smile on my face is the knowledge that God is in control, and these items do not belong on my worry plate. God is sovereign and good and perfect in His wisdom and power. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

July is officially a fat month for my family. In it, we have two birthdays and a wedding anniversary. These events are accompanied by celebratory foods and added weight to our bodies. This year I reached the birthday milestone where I should now know the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything (please refer to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for my age).

What I can tell you (for those of you who have not reached this magnificent age) is that life is like a roller coaster hill. Once you finally get to a place in your life where you feel like you "have a grip on life" and can see clearly (usually your 30's), you look ahead and see that things will very soon begin to go downhill rapidly and you no longer "have a gripe on life."

I am at an age where I should be more organized than I am, because I know better. Long ago, I described my age as young enough to get away with it, but old enough to know better. Now, I just know better. So, with this in mind, I will try regain my "grip" and focus on organization in my life before this coaster starts to go any faster. :)
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Friday, July 07, 2006

Sorry...better photo here

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Old Stuff

Today, I am supposed to go pick up a cabinet that used to belong to my husband's grandmother and has been sitting in an old church for who knows how many years. I do not know anything about the cabinet other than the fact that it used to belong to Gram, and that is enough for me. I love old furniture that used to belong to someone else (which is good, as that describes most of our furniture).

I fell in love with the furniture that currently resides in our guest room when my husband and I were courting and would drive to his parents' for a weekend visit. It was the bedroom set that I used on these visits. Shortly after we were wed, they gave the furniture away to a single man - who wasn't using it. I was so disappointed! When they realized that I wanted "that old stuff" they brought it to us.

This isn't a clear photo, but the wood is beautiful. It was my inlaws' first refinishing project years ago. The set includes a high boy dresser and a mirrored dressing table. On the bed is the bedspread that my husband's grandmother on the other side of the family used. At the foot of the bed is a quilt my great grandmother made from scraps from dresses she had made for her seven daughters. On the walls, hang photos of my mother as a child and my grandparents. On the quilt rack is a quilt made by my husband's grandmother. Am I a romantic or what?

I love things that belong to family members as it gives me a sense of connectedness and roots. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Back to the Drawing Board

Last night's dinner was a failure, so for next week's fish night it will be something more familiar for us. I'm just at a loss when it comes to cooking fish, partly because it is so expensive that my mum never bought anything beyond frozen fish. Hmmm, maybe if we lived on Cape Cod.....  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

In an effort to eat healthier and incorporate more Omega 3 fatty acid in our diet, Wednesday has become fish night in our home. Tonight's menu includes Salmon steaks that are currently marinating in a ginger/soy sauce. I didn't eat much fish growing up other than the poor man's fish & chips, so this gives me a good opportunity to be creative and pour over cookbooks for healthy alternatives to deep fried fish. Last week we had Halibut baked in a Ritz cracker crumb crust; it was wonderful! Tonight's a little more risky, but I have high hopes. If you have any good fish recipes that you would not mind sharing with me, please let me know. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth of July

This evening we are hosting family for a 4th of July cookout, complete with homemade ice cream - yum! I look forward to these times of quiet contentment in the company of those we love. We have been to large public celebrations before, like Boston Pops, but I really prefer simple times with family. Right now, I'm taking a wee break while my floors dry. So, I'm off to visit your blogs to see what everyone else is up to. :) Posted by Picasa