Saturday, April 30, 2011

OH MY It Has Been A While!

My goodness it has been a while since I last posted. How terrible of me. I am really in the middle of so many things, too many to really take time and talk about, but I am going to post about a few things.

I am having fish issues. I have a silver molly (I think that is what it is) that suddenly swelled up while we were on vacation. Was sure it was pregnant, went and bought an isolation box that goes in to the tank so that when it has the babies (called a fry...which I find very amusing) it won't be able to eat them. We are going on three weeks now, still looks like a balloon about to pop, and often I find the fish laying on it's side or belly up. Just when I think the thing is dead it starts swimming around again. Some time this week, I will be cleaning my tanks and moving some fish from the big one to the smaller one. The larger tank has about a dozen brand new red platy babies. They are too small to safely net and move, plus, have a fish I am not sure would be nice to them. I need to conquer the vacuum, other wise will have to some how talk hubby in to doing it for me. It really is a simple thing, but the trick is to get the suction action to work with the water level. Maybe YouTube will be useful.

Speaking of YouTube, isn't that place great? I have found all kinds of helpful information on there. Just today, did a search and found a video on how to clean a beef tongue. Bless the people that have nothing better to do than to make a video of them self doing these kinds of things, but I could never do it. This tongue project is just plain grossing me out, but if hubby likes it then it will all be worth it. Our town, well this region, has a unique type of food called Basque. It is passed down from the sheep herders of long ago. There is French Basque and Spanish Basque which each has it's subtle spice differences, but for the most part is the same. The restaurants serve you family style as was the tradition of the old days. The women would cook the food and take it to the herders, which ate in shifts so that the sheep were never left alone. It is very pricey to go to one of these local restaurants, but so very good. Served in 5 to 6 courses, the Hors D'oeuvres brought out are pickled beef tongue and tomato salad. My husband and sons love the tongue, all of us love the tomato which is marinated. I was looking through an old copy of my church's cookbook and found many of the recipes from one of the local restaurants called Wool Growers. Click on it to see more about the restaurant or history of the food. The tongue and tomato salad are the first two I am trying. The soup recipe is in there too and am possibly going to try it tomorrow to go with them.

OH MY, have a show about the real pirates of the Caribbean going. This guy just loaded a cannon with silver ware to see if it is a myth. When he fired the cannon, the boards set up to be the target was loaded with embedded silver ware and impressions of some that hit hard enough to leave indention, but not stick. I have to laugh though, what he is calling a knife is actually butter server. You know, put in to the tub or stick of butter to serve during a meal. Kind of looks like a short skinny spatula.

Now am back to cooking shows. I watch way too many of them. Have seen contestant on some of these shows use plantains, so I bought some, HAVE NO IDEA what to do with them. Thank you internet. Did find some on the Food Network which were interesting enough to print out and try. Although, I should do a little more research on an item before I just buy it. The people working the meat department told me that Basa fish was in the cod family, cooked like cod, tasted less fishy like cod. Guess what? Did a little Googling for recipes and found out quick that it is actually in the catfish family. I do not like catfish at all, but thankfully the family does. Along the lines of food, have been working on some new menu plans and coupons, more like the organization of all of it. My desk is over flowing with print outs of recipes, calendar pages, coupons, magazine pages I tore out, receipts for the price book I am working on. You get the idea. I couldn't even sew a stitch or glue a card if needed to.

Speaking of card making. I got so behind last month on my swaps that I wondered if I would get them all out. Still have not taken time to scan all the great cards I received, need to work on that this week as well. I did. But vowed to take the month of May off and may even take off through the summer to get a bit caught up. I would really like to do some quilting, need to make a couple of quilts for my new grandsons. One is already 9 months old and the other one will be here in August. The oldest grand son is almost 8 but he got his quilt back when he was born. Although, I have not seen it since, so not sure he even still has it.

Oh, and my camera is dead. I have been unable to find my battery charger, which is a special charger for the odd type battery it takes. I have no been able to find the batteries that I bought before that would work, just not rechargeable. It is frustrating. Apparently my Kodak camera has been discontinued and am no longer able to buy the batteries, charger, or USB cord. It is almost to the point to where it would be cheaper in the long run to buy a new camera. And I really need my camera. I took some photos during spring break, need to download them so I can post them.

I threw out the hints, just hope they stuck. Told my daughter that for Mother's Day I wanted the family to eat together at home, just wanted them to pick up a bucket of KFC and then we could fix some sides here. Also told her that I don't want flowers, they can get me some herb plants to grow in pots around the house, some plants for my hanging baskets as well.

I have had a nice little break here, so need to get back to work. Thanks for stopping by and come back soon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

They Shoot Horses!

Back in the day, they would shoot a horse that felt the way I have been feeling. Some one, please shoot me...with a sleeping I can get a few hours of sleep.

Just when I seem to hit a groove with my battle of the bulge, something always kicks me in the back side. First was some muscle pain. Which I could work through, I expected as much. Then, my family loves me so much they brought home a nasty bug to share. So much so that as I got over it they decided to give it back...a second time. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Then we had a death in the family. Now, I didn't have to go anywhere, didn't have to make any decisions or arrangements. But, this was some one very dear to me. While I am saddened for her family to have to go through this, I am happy that she is now in a better place, with the loved ones that have gone ahead, her mind is now clear and she is happy once again. It does, well any death that is close to me, bring up feelings of loosing my dad. I still miss him so dearly and have absolutely no idea how to manage the feelings of overwhelming sadness that come over me, the pain of feeling all alone even though I am not, the anger at him leaving me. He was laying there in a bed, unable to speak, looking at me that those loving eyes that I grew up with. I promised him to take care of my mom so if he needed to leave he could. Maybe I shouldn't have told him that, maybe he would have fought a little harder. Did I make it too easy for him to leave? At any rate I have kept my promise.

Taking care of mom in some ways have been a lot easier than I had anticipated, but more time consuming than I ever thought in others. This week has been one of those weeks, and of course since we will be gone several days this next week she gets a little anxious. All in all, she does well.

I have been receiving several of the cards from all the group swaps I participate in. I have been so tied up with being sick, dealing with my pity parties, that I have now become late in mailing out. I will get that corrected tomorrow. Also hope to get a birthday card out to my oldest daughter. Last year it was about 4 months late.

I am so ready for out two little vacation trips. First, a few days in the desert to ride the quad. We have had an unusually wet few months, lower temps than usual, so the desert is alive with spring blooms of every kind of color. I am taking my camera out on some rides to see what kind of photos I can get. Then home to unload the trailer from riding and reload for beach. God knew I was in a sad spot, we accidentally came across three nights together at one of our favorite spots. I REALLY NEED THESE DAYS OFF.

Now, I wasn't going to go back on the soap box about Extreme Couponing on TLC, but I really have to. OH MY GOSH. First, I have to say a thing or two...maybe three...about the twin "Saving Divas". Where to start? I totally get all the free stuff they signed up for and get for their birthday. I do the same thing, most restaurants have something free for a birthday. Like I said, I totally get that. HOWEVER...the shopping trip. The one sister gathered all the product from the shelf, made a comment that she was taking it all then looked at the camera and said she didn't care what anyone thought. Of course, diapers were in the basket of products. Why do I mention this? The start of the show when she is showing off the stockpile, there were over 4,000 diapers. The narrator comments that comes out to enough diapers to supply a baby for a year and a half. HELLO, one they were all the same size. TWO...she has no children. But says she might some day. INSANE. The other person on the show was second visit from the guy who bought all the deodorants in the first show. He was showing off the special room he built for his stockpile of over 1,000 tubes of toothpaste. GIVE ME A BREAK. If you plan on using it why build it a shrine? Can one human actually use over 1,000 tubes of toothpaste in a life time? You know he is going to buy more when he gets more coupons. As I suspected, this second episode only strengthens my belief that these people are just organized hoarders, but hoarders. I really can't see this show making long either, at least I hope not.

Okay, enough whining for the night. Thanks for dropping by.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Turn Over

Here we are, another week begins (if you go by the calendar) or ends, depends on how you look at it. I know that Sunday is the first day of the week on my calendar planner, but to me Monday has always been the first day of the week. How about you?

I have been working on planning some things, then getting back on track with my meal planning and using what is already in the pantry and freezer. Went Saturday and bought a bill of groceries for this pay period. The tough thing about this is that we will be home this week, then we have a week of camping. Two nights in the dessert out riding, then home and unload, clean, load up again for three nights at the beach. Then home, and unload, clean then have Easter dinner for the family. I spent way too much, mainly because hubby went shopping with me. However, all the main meat for the camping trip and Easter dinner were bought so I don't really have to shop too much for about three weeks for certain, am aiming for 4-5 weeks. I know it won't exactly be what the family really wants to eat, but there will be a home cooked, mainly healthy meal each night. Will be posting some of the dinners as I go along, have several new recipes that I will be trying out.

I have to admit, I have picked up with doing some couponing, after watching the show Extreme Couponing on TLC the other night. HOWEVER...I am not by any means jumping in to the middle of that ocean of insanity. Oh my gosh, will not even start on the blatant fraud that show exhibited, nor the insanity of the amounts of product they are stock piling. I was just pleased to have a dollar coupon to use on my mom's coffee for her. I am watching Hoarding:Buried Alive and this woman had over 100 bottles of shampoo, enough to last 16 years. Made me think about the coupon people, the man with his purchase of 115 deodorants. I guess if you just have shelves to stack all of it up on, then it is a stockpile to be proud of, when you just throw it where ever in the house it is hoarding. Very fine line there if you ask me.

I have an idea. TLC should find a group of three individuals and follow them across several of their shows. Here is what it would look like. Lets say Adam, Betty and Carol are the participants on the shows. First, you could follow them through an episode of My Strange Addiction with the addiction being that they like to dumpster dive for glossy paper inserts to then take home and cut up. Oh and maybe Betty has an addiction to shopping and they they could follow her over to What Not To Wear to help her at least purchase a better choice of style for herself. Then, of course, put them on Extreme Couponing so everyone can see how they save so much money. Since it is obvious, being a part of TLC, that they don't mind allowing millions of viewers see them kind of move the line of legal and not legal around a bit, the couponers could show the Sister Wives how to save money and buy in quantity. At least they could use the huge amounts of products with all those people in those four families that are headed by one man. The couponers and their stockpiles could be featured on Hoarding:Buried Alive and maybe they could get help understanding that buying 72 bottles of mustard, when no one in the family even likes mustard (not to mention emptying the shelves so no one else could buy any), is a behavioral problem. Of course with all the money they save, the couponers that have small daughters could then go on to Toddlers and Tiaras to show that their couponing saves them enough to pay for all those outfits, coaches, tanning sessions, hair appointments and of course don't forget the flippers.

Yet I still keep watching the shows.

I have a few things to take care of for my mom tomorrow...again. I will go work out, then to her place and if I am really...I do mean extremely...lucky I may be home by two in the afternoon. I need to finish up a few cards for a swap, then make a birthday card for my oldest daughter. I also need to deep clean my bedroom, put up some clothes laying about and hopefully find my riding jersey before our trip.

Guess that is about all I have to say for now. Need to go clean out the fridge and let the dogs feel especially lucky tonight with all the crap that was supposed to be eaten, was not because hubby refuses to eat left overs, and is now in the fridge rotting. Of course, he will have to say a few words about how much money we waste on food that isn't eaten. Then I remind him it was his choice not to eat it. I will admit, I am too aware of some of the things that he does not like so I can use that by threatening to make it to usually get an offer of eating out some where. Yes, I know that is tricky and sneaky and probably wrong. But hey, if it works?

Thanks for stopping in, I am off to work in the kitchen.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday - Coupons, sales, work outs.

Wow has it been a crazy week. I started the work outs, have only lost about 3 pounds so far, weigh in again tomorrow. However, I am so totally sore I can hardly move. Am also having a little bit of a physical problem as well.

Not much happening on the craft front. Just haven't had the drive to do anything lately. I know it will come back soon though. My mom's place has this activity called "Chat & Do" a couple of times a month or so. In other words they do a lot of chatting and a little doing. The current project is a scrapbook to put in the reception area of the assisted living building. I got excited about this, thought this was something I could help with. My mind started thinking I could take my punches, Cricut, Sizzix, cutters and such to work on some pages. Well...that went poof, mom told me that they were cutting pictures out of magazines and pasting them to pages. In her words, "a whole lot of nothing" going on. To me it seems a little like grade school activities. I know that theses women have limited physical abilities, but it just seems that there should be more that could be offered to them. Since I have known them, the projects have been: decorations for their dining table, paper place mats, little frames from Popsicle sticks, the usual cut and color kids crafts. The one thing that was kind of interested that I heard about was some beaded holders that clip a napkin on much like a bib. I really wish there was something I could do, some idea to come up with, to help the ladies make something. Wonder if they have ever thought about making cards. I do know that a few of the women crochet, knit and sew for charity causes. Wonder if it would be to pushy to talk to the leader and suggest making cards to send to soldiers or vet homes.

Tonight, on TLC, we watched shows about extreme couponing. I would love to be able to walk in to the grocery store and buy $1,000 worth of groceries for $5.94 but I can tell you that for this area of the country it just isn't possible. Here is why.

1. The couponers in the show all mentioned that they has several sources for coupons. One lady dumpster dove for the coupon inserts. There is no place in this town that I would legally be allowed to go through the dumpsters. I could tell from the show that the lady was at a recycle spot, but the only recycle places we have are for profit so no one is allowed to take anything. Besides, they are not for paper any way.

2. Another person on the show buys extra papers for the coupons. Suggested one for each member of the household. Okay, that at least makes sense, except for one problem. Our local newspaper only puts the coupons in the subscription papers. The ones available to purchase at the store or in the machines never have the coupons in them. One of the narrator's comments was that one shopper purchased coupons from a clipping service for about $70 a month. THAT LITTLE POINT was not made, nor factored in to the ending total of what she bought. If you have a favorite web site for free coupons, let me know.

3. The next tip mentioned was to use store coupons which double and triple the value of the coupon. Not one store in this town will double much less triple the value of coupons. I do not understand how the one couponer was able to use her preferred customer card to double her coupons at Albertson's, we do have an Albertson's but that just never happens here, I have asked about it. Also mentioned was Kroger's and Safeway, which we don't have any of those stores either. Now shopping the loss leaders I understand, just would love to double a coupon from time to time at least.

4. Insane quantities these people bought. Just because I have a coupon for does not mean I need to buy it. I mean really, 154 candy bars, 1,500 deodorants, 100 cups of yogurts. Half of their house is used for housing their "products". Most have a supply that is equal to 2 or 3 years for their respective families. I don't know about you, but I am thinking WHY? Really, they do this every week, so you know that they are not using up their "products" as fast as they are bringing them in. Don't know about you, but I do not want to pop open a 2 year old yogurt cup. Looking at the stash of "products" the only thing I can think of is organized hoarding. The other thing that I noticed about this show, I guarantee you my local grocery store - even the warehouse type - is not going to 218 boxes of the same kind of pasta or 73 bottles of mustard on the shelf.

Also, I have never come across a coupon for produce, meat, or milk. In fact, most stores will exclude milk on most frequent buyer programs.

There was one shopper on the show that made total sense about it all. She has a family of 6 - three of which are teen age boys, something I am very experienced with having two of my own. She planned out the meals for a month. Checked the sale circulars for the loss leaders (that is the items that are really reduced, will actually be a loss for the store, with the purpose of bringing you in to the store and there by hoping that you will buy more) making the menus for the month based on these sales when possible. She made a list, bought only what she needed for the month's meals, checked the clearance bin for some extra savings, and she was done. Now, to me this makes total sense and is at least a realistic approach. One which I intend to get back to using. It really does work to cut your spending when you utilize this approach to it's fullest. It takes a bit of work to get it started, but once you get it going it becomes easier financially to take advantage of the loss leaders by stocking up on them when they hit. Sales run in cycles, have noticed that at the craft stores as well. So, if pasta is on sale this week, in another three or four months it will be back on sale. Unless you are going to eat pasta every meal for 90 to 95 days in a row, why bother. Of course, my view of this may be a bit jaded as I am in a constant battle with pantry weevils. They look like small maggots when they are in the larvae stage and eat through everything. They then turn in to small brown moths, which lay eggs that seem to melt in to every box and bag because I find them in my crackers, chips, pasta, rice, cake mixes, even in the Jello. Basically anything that is not in a hard plastic, glass, or metal container. I have a hard enough time keeping them out of a pantry of about 1 1/2 to 2 month supply, no way I am putting in a 2 year supply.

Okay, I am stopping there. Need to make sure I don't get started on any other soap boxes, at least not when I am this tired. Thanks for stopping by and come back again.

I have tried five times to get my response to the point in color. Everytime I get it looking like I want, as soon as I click publish, the color disappears.