Mom & Dad- celebrating an anniversary. What fun we had!
Our granddaughter Ava at the ‘fiesta’
Our grandson Nathan in Nevada.
Our Cheri at the handgun course. We had a blast!
You may ask what a TYPE 2 vacation is… well, I just learned that expression from our son a few days ago. I think he may have invented the term. Let’s see if I can get this right…
A TYPE 1 vacation may look like a time when you can read on the beach or a cruise, or perhaps some sight-seeing in some exciting city.
A TYPE 2 vacation is well… ummm…. err….how can I define this? You go somewhere, and get stressed to the max learning something new or pushing your limits physically, emotionally or both with great family and/or friends. Crying may be involved, tons of laughter (mainly at yourself) and when it’s over you are glad, and thrilled that you could even do it!
Ok, we just finished with a TYPE 2 vacation. Our kids John & Cheri, and friends Cliff & Jen, treated us to a 4 day handgun course at http://www.frontsight.com/ in Pahrumpa Nevada. What a hoot! There were some days I thought I’d never get ‘it’ but left realizing that I had learned a ton.
Things I learned:
- I can’t believe anyone has a gun without such a course in gun safety and shooting.
- I can still learn new things
- I never want to shoot anyone, but I now can defend myself and family if the need arises.
What I loved:
- Being with grandchildren and getting to know them.
- learning with our kids, John & Cheri & great family friends, Cliff & Jen and our 14 year old grandson, John Caleb ( 6′ 4″ tall) also took the course.
- laughing our heads off!
- The warm and loving hospitality of Cliff & Jen and their family.
Here are a few of the highlights of our family and ‘grands’. We want to share with you our joy in being with them.
Here are some Easter memories we have:
Every place, every season in our life is special and these help us to remember good things of where and with whom we’ve been. Here are 10 things I miss, but I’m so thankful I feel content and hopeful about the future.
- I miss our children
- I miss getting to know our grandchildren
- I miss our parents & siblings
- I miss owning our own home.. it just ‘feels different being a renter’ when I’m a bit of a nester.
- I miss good Mexican food- you know the kind in those little strip malls where everyone speaks Spanish.
- I miss ‘stocking the pantry’… ok, it’s kind of a hobby that borders on OCD, but is very useful when we have a lot of people to feed and when food prices keep going up.
- I miss canning my own soups and stews- such fun!
- I miss going to the library to such sit and read and then take some books home.
- I miss the ‘good deals’, bargain prices and coupons that are apart of the American culture.
- I miss certain holiday celebrations like, Thanksgiving, Easter dinner & egg hunts, 4th of July barbecues with family & friends
This, may be old news for some of you but I’ve just discovered a way to deposit a check from my computer. I received a rebate last week and I decided to do this ‘internet deposit’ thing that I read about on Capital One (formally ING). This is the account where I keep the funds for those irregular expenses that we always have.
First of all, I scanned it, like they instructed; front & back then uploaded it. It was rejected…
Next, I took a photo of it with my little camera, again, front and back; added it to my Picasa (photo manager) on my laptop, and then uploaded it. IT WORKED! It was accepted. Victory!
I deposited another check and the best photo for this one was the scanned photo. I’m very pleased with this method, especially while living overseas.
This method saved me $1.10 in postage, an envelope, and without the fear that it might get lost in the mail.
Johnny Appleseed Day honors one of America’s great legends, or at least when I was in elementary school we read about this interesting person in our North American history. It’s true that Johnny Appleseed was a real person and his real name was John Chapman. He was not only a pioneer nurseryman but also a missionary for the The New Church (or Swedenborgianism).
Chapman was quick to preach the Gospel as he traveled, and during his travels many Native American Indians were converted. They regarded him as someone who had been touched by the Great Spirit, and even hostile tribes left him alone. He once wrote, “I have traveled more than 4,000 miles about this country, and I have never met with one single insolent Native American”. I also read that he admired the Indians very much.
John Chapman lived a subsistence lifestyle and often preached against extravagance.
It would have been fun to include some links and photo, but sadly those functions are still not working on my blog. In any case, these stories and accounts of missionaries are valuable teachings tools for our children & grandchildren. I hope and also wonder if the truth of his missionary work is still taught in the public schools.
I think it would be a fun and productive to teach about Johnny Appleseed and in celebration of his life and ministry, plant an apple tree with the grandchildren. I may have to start that tradition someday.
Yesterday we received a box of treats from friends in Ramona. What a fun time that was! It was really like Christmas. In this box there were so many goodies but one in particular was such a blessing: brown sugar! Thank you ladies for this gift! Today I’m making the Original Toll house cookie recipe. I learned from my daughters to bake some of the cookies to serve right away and then drop the rest of the cookie dough by spoonfuls on a tray and freeze them. When frozen, put them all in a baggie and freeze for baking later. You all probably know this ricipe by heart, but here it is anyway:
Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
- 1 cup chopped nuts
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.
SLICE AND BAKE COOKIE VARIATION:
PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.
FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.
Today in the mail I received some brown sugar from some dear friends in the USA. This looks like a great recipe for this rainy day to make. Brown sugar has been my ‘missing ingredient’. I am happy! Tomorrow chocolate cookies!
2/3 cup ground coffee
3- 3 inch long cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 cups cold water
Place coffee in filter in brew basket of coffee maker. Place cinnamon and sugar in empty pot of coffee maker. Add water to coffee maker, brew. When brewing is complete stir until well mixed. Fill cups being careful the cinnamon sticks remain in the pot. Serve with milk and additional sugar, if desired.
Well, it’s almost time to start the spring planting. It’s nice to think that in the past, families would work their gardens while also planning to ‘put up’ enough for the whole year. I think that is so classy!
Sadly, in our move to a much smaller house we had to get rid of all my dozens and dozens of canning jars, pressure canner and equipment. Boo-hoo! I look forward to the day when I can get back to this enjoyable hobby of mine. In the meantime, I can hear and live vicariously about the canning adventures of our girls and friends.
Here are some canning ideas:some can be water bathed and others pressure canned.
- can cream of zucchini soup base to enjoy all winter long- just add cream when you open it.I love it! We are still enjoying this soup from 2 years ago.
- zucchini pickles
- zucchini in tomato sauce
- zucchini caponata
- zuchinni relish
- zucchini salsa
4 onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
1/4 cup pickling salt
1 tablespoon pickling salt
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pepper
5 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
12 ounces tomato paste
Next day rinse, drain well and put into a large pot then add mustard, garlic, cumin, vinegar, brown sugar, pepper flakes, salt,cornstarch, nutmeg, pepper, 1 tablespoon salt, tomatoes and tomato paste.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Water bath jars for 15 minutes if they have not sealed properly.
- tomato soup base (add cream upon opening)
- canned whole tomatoes
- tomato sauce
- barbecue sauce
- tomato relish
- spaghetti sauce
- tomato and vegetable soup
- tomato bruschetta in a jar
Tomato Bruschetta in a Jar
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
9 cups chopped cored plum tomatoes (about 4 lb or 12 medium)
7 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands
2.) COMBINE garlic, wine, wine vinegar, water, sugar, basil, oregano and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes or until garlic is heated through. Remove from heat.
3.) PACK tomatoes into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch head-space. Ladle hot vinegar mixture over tomatoes leaving 1/2 inch head-space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
4.) PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
First of all, what is an irregular expense?
These are those expenditures that periodically come up and are not included in your monthly budget. In fact at our house because we not only have irregular expenses but also irregular income, I budget monthly for some income to go into and divide into these funds:
- a replacement vehicle
- appliance replacement
- car insurance (paying monthly can be done but we save about $50 by paying yearly)
- gifts (I add up all those I give to and set an amount and save that for the year. This way, I don’t go into debt at Christmas time as so many do)
- clothing (I have a fund for John and one for me)
- car repairs
- house repairs
- heating fuel for the house
etc…It is a rare month that I can fund every account but each has it’s level of priority. Some months I may not have any cash left to add to the vacation fund or maybe it’s just $5 or $10. I also keep all these funds in a separate checking account but manage them with an EXCEL spreadsheet. I deposit (on the computer) or withdraw using EXCEL according to the bills and expenses that come up.Each catagory has it’s own tab and each runs like a checkbook register. It’s a relief for me to know that when John says the car needs new tires or an oil change, I have the money available, or if I want a new skirt or shoes, I can see if the money is there for such expenditures.
This is not a saving account but rather a fund that we spend from.
It’s our recipe to stay out of debt.
The borrower is slave to the lender. When you are in debt to another, you enter into a slave/master relationship with your creditor. (Proverbs 22:7)
Ok, I’m still having problems with my blog and I can’t add media or photos or include links, but still I press on.
Here is a definition of a BUDGET:
What Is A Budget?
“A budget is a spending plan that you decide upon. It is based on how much you make in income and what your monthly expenses are. By understanding your monthly income and expenses, you will be better able to manage your cash flow and determine how much debt, if any, you can assume.”
“To put it simply, a budget plans future saving and spending as well as planned income and expenses. Budgeting may be carried out by individuals or by companies to estimate whether or not they can continue to operate with its projected income and expenses.”
“Simply put, a budget is an itemized summary of likely income and expenses for a given period. It helps you determine whether you can grab that bite to eat or should head home for a bowl of soup.”
“A budget is a plan expressed in dollar amounts that acts as a road map to carry out an organization’s/family’s objectives, strategies and assumptions.”
and one more…
“Budgeting essentially helps you plan your finances by listing all future income and the related expenses. Based on those expenses you then make decisions about the necessary and optional items needed to live within your means.”
Right now we are watching our own government struggle with this issue. I think there are a couple of things that they perhaps have forgotten or choose not to remember or employ…:
- it’s not their money, they are just stewards of ours
- a budget is a plan so we can stay and live within our means
Regardless of our own governments inability to do the right thing, I have to remember that:
- I am a steward of the money that comes into our life
- I have to budget to stay & live within our means.
I may want to eat differently, drive a better car, have a bigger house, or take a more extravagant vacation but in our home, we are committed to living on a BUDGET.