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Archive for September, 2014


September 30th, 2014 at 10:09 am

Does anyone have any information on or can anyone point me to some good information on seller carried mortgages when the seller acts as the mortgage lender to the buyer of a house? I want to research it as it may be our only option at this point with these buyers.

And where else could we get a guaranteed 8% return?

Meal Planning for the Week

September 29th, 2014 at 07:22 am

My first week of not eating out is complete. The menu planning went fairly well last week, though on Saturday I decided not to cook and instead we ate up the leftovers from the week. And today, instead of making what I'd planned on, I made fajitas. I was just in the mood for Mexican food.

This week won't be too bad, I don't think. The hardest part always seems to be that first week. I've got plenty of protein, but I do need to go and pick up some lettuce at the store. My garden lettuce is done and I've been craving a big, elaborate salad, so I'll do that this week for a few of my lunches.

Pork chops
Fried potatoes
Broccoli from the garden

Shrimp stir-fry with broccoli (garden), carrots, onions, celery and green beans (garden)
Egg fried rice

BBQ Chicken
Cole slaw

Beef stew
Green beans

Homemade pizza with pepperoni, onions, bell peppers trips, and basil

Bacon Rabbit cheeseburgers
Homemade fries

Pot roast
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Green beans

Doing Good on the Challenge

September 27th, 2014 at 09:56 pm

Well, the kids have not yet persuaded me to eat out. They were wrangling for pizza last night, so I deviated from the meal plan and made a homemade oregano and basil pizza. They just weren't in the mood for enchiladas so I made them up and then put them in the freezer wrapped individually so they can be eaten in the future as an after school snack or for my lunch during the week if I don't feel like cooking.

I don't foresee going out this weekend either. I really don't even want to change out of my pajamas, though I will need to for a trip to the library.

Emergency Fund Update

September 25th, 2014 at 10:47 pm

$8940.22 Beginning EF Amount
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
$8950.22 Ending EF Balance

No Eating Out Challenge

September 25th, 2014 at 09:14 pm

Things have gone great with the no eating out challenge so far. I've made all food at home for the past 3 days, and am on track for today as well. When we were at the grocery store yesterday, the kids wanted me to buy them a couple of premade soups from the salad bar, but I felt like that would be cheating on the intent if not the letter of the challenge.

Then there is the fact that each one of those soups costs $4, so $8 for soup when I can make a big pot of soup for a lot less money, that will feed us about 8 times the amount of that soup. And I'll be using the leftover potatoes from last night's meal to do it.

On tonight's menu is baked potato soup. So they only had to wait a day for soup. And while it is not savory pot roast soup, we just had beef stew on Monday with all the same ingredients, so I don't feel like I'm disappointing them any by making a different hearty soup. Plus its on the menu plan anyway. They can live with it. And they always like my soups and stews better anyhow.

I feel better when we eat this way. Even eating out once a week makes me feel cruddy afterwards and almost like I am hung over the next day from the excessive carbohydrate intake.

So far I feel if I continue to plan well for this, that I won't have any problems making it through the month.

The biggest thing I am noticing is how there isn't nearly the garbage without the eating out. And none of the food is getting wasted at all since I am making planned overs and those get eaten up in the next meal or the one after that. It's much more efficient, since I am using the oven less for long-term cooking, and then being much quicker on the stove top the next day by using leftover ingredients. Less waste will lead to saving more on the grocery budget since everything gets used up.

Hopefully I will stay this together and focused as we head into October, the second half of which is always my big cold season starting.

Meal Planning

September 22nd, 2014 at 10:38 pm

My goal for the next 30 days is to not eat out once, so I'll be joining Laura on the first half of her challenge. Maybe the second half, too, but lets see how I do for the first month. I've gone two weeks before without eating out, but it's been a long time since I've gone longer than that.

My family will be doing it, too, except my husband, who does eat out on the days he flies. Not really much we can do about that since he's usually travelling for 24 hours with no access to anything but restaurant food. But he will when he's at home and obviously will at work since they provide all meals onsite.

I plan to bank any savings.

So here is my menu plan for the week.

Beef stew with potatoes and carrots
Green beans
(Everything in this meal is home-canned)

Chicken stir-fry with onions and bell peppers
Fried rice

Roast chicken
Baked potatoes
Green beans

Baked potato soup made with leftover baked potatoes
Homemade bread
Broccoli from the garden

Chicken enchiladas made with leftover chicken
Spanish rice

Fried rabbit
Fried potatoes
Green beans

Barbecue chicken
Baked potatoes
Broccoli from the garden

Hay Bale Garden Update and Farm Dreams

September 22nd, 2014 at 08:35 pm

I've been able to get out and do some serious work in the gardens this week. I've got a lot of food coming in, though never in the huge quantities I had expected for some of it.

The hay bale garden has been far more successful than the straw bale garden. It has had far less weeds and the growth has been phenomenal in comparison. So next year I think I will skip planting in straw bales at all and just go with the hay bales, if I do this again.

So far I've yielded $357.25 of organic produce over the price of my start up costs for the gardens. Next year if I start things from seeds instead of buying organic transplants, start up costs will be lower. Since I got started late though, I did the transplants to catch up some time.

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If all goes well with the house sale and if we find a small farm and if we can actually buy it before next spring, I will be building raised beds out of rabbit bedding and rabbit manure, which can be used right away, and setting up compost piles for the bird waste and bedding, since it needs to compost for at least six months before using. We will use wire and t-posts instead of wood to keep things loosely in place and will build it up at least 3 feet tall. With the amount of bedding we could compost in place that will be by far a better method. Then we will have deep mulch as it breaks down to between 1/2 and 1/3 of its original size. It'll still be a foot off the ground so I can pull up a chair to do my gardening.

I'm not going to rush buying a farm, though. We may need longer than that even if the house sale does go through. I want to make sure I find the right place and that we have a big enough down payment that we are not struggling at all with making a mortgage payment again.

I am picky about what I want. It has to have a well for water. It needs to have either a creek or a pond on the property, but not too close to the house in case of flooding. It needs to have either a good barn or several outbuildings, preferably one with power and water, but at the very least power. It needs a house that is one level only, preferably with handicapped accessibility, and at least 1600 square feet with a minimum of 3 bedrooms, though I'd prefer 4, and 2 bathrooms.

The kitchen needs to be of a decent size for canning and processing meat. It needs adequate pantry storage. It needs a garage and no basement as most basements around here have flooding issues. It needs a wood stove and a propane or gas stove. It needs garden space, fruit trees and nut trees, and at least 2 acres of pasture and 2 acres of wooded land. Fencing around the pastures is a must. It needs a good site for a green house for aquaponics and growing dwarf citrus trees, and a good site for solar panels and possibly a wind turbine. Wants, but not must haves are a willow tree and a flowering cherry tree or two.

We will probably buy 5 acres, though if we can save up enough, I'd prefer 10. We don't ever intend to move again after buying our farm so I want it to be right or at least easily able to be made right, like planting my own fruit trees and nut trees, willow tree, and flowering cherry trees.

Roof and Ceiling Fixed

September 22nd, 2014 at 05:15 am

We got the roof and the ceiling leak repaired. The roof cost $160 and the ceiling cost $20 for his time since we had all the supplies on hand from the last time we had to do it.

The buyers have an inspection scheduled for Wednesday. We've got the permit application in and paid for ($80.70) for the wood stove. Apparently the people who put the stove in before we bought it never had it permitted when they put it in, so now we have to do it. Not that big a deal, but you'd think our realtor back when we bought the house would have caught that then. Or maybe the WA state laws have changed since then, who knows?

The only problem with that that I foresee is that there is only one guy who checks the wood stoves for three counties, so it might be a while. Hopefully it will be before the closing date, though.

Not sure when their bank will do their appraisal for the loan. Hopefully not too long. I'd like to know one way or the other. They do have way more than a 20% down payment though, so hopefully if the bank does think it is overpriced it won't be too much of an issue. Zillow thinks it is worth more than we are selling it for, so hopefully their bank will, too.

I know that they want to move in as soon as possible, so hopefully they will stay on top of things.

I am trying not to worry that it will all fall apart, but I'm not so good at that. And I hate living in limbo. It drives me right up the wall.

Emergency Fund Update

September 19th, 2014 at 11:36 pm

$8930.22 Beginning EF Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
$8940.22 Ending EF Balance

60 Million

September 18th, 2014 at 06:15 pm

Well, my hit counter went over 60 million hits last night. I find that absolutely crazy, even if I have been writing this blog for almost 8.5 years. How neat is that? Thank you to all my readers. Your help, advice, loyalty, prayers, and readership mean a lot to me.

Woo Flipping Hoo!

September 18th, 2014 at 06:06 am

We are under contract. Just $4000 under our asking price. Now we just have to wait for the inspection and the loan appraisal. If all goes well they will take possession by October 31st, or sooner if everything shakes out right and we will no longer have that house hanging over us. Please pray that all goes well. Now to keep from counting all my chickens before they hatch...

This Might Be It

September 15th, 2014 at 04:31 pm

We have people meeting with their loan officer today to see if they can get a mortgage to buy our house. We haven't gotten the offer yet, no earnest money has been put down, but our realtor is very hopeful. This is the closest we've come to actually selling the thing. Prayers and crossed fingers would be appreciated. There were also two more showings this week.

Unfortunately the nasty rain storm we had last Monday moved some flashing on the roof and caused a small leak in the hallway by the furnace. So now we have to get a roofer out to fix the flashing around the furnace outtake pipe and/or patch the roof. Then our handyman will redo the inside ceiling where the rain damage came through.

That roof is 14 years old. It's supposed to be a 20 year roof, but we've had several leaks. If the original roofer hadn't had a heart attack and gone out of business, this would be covered in the warranty, but as it is, we have to come up with the money to pay to have it fixed. Last time flashing came loose it cost $150 to have it repaired. If it is more than flashing, it may be much more.

If it turns out the roof is bad altogether, we will offer a reduction in the price of the house so they can afford to get it reroofed. The only way we could do it would be to take out a home equity loan and then pay it off with the house sale. I don't want to do that, especially if the sale falls through.

Things are going fairly well on the farm front. The newborn kits are all still alive and doing well. They have their fur in now and they should be opening their eyes today or tomorrow. Aren't they adorable?

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Payday Report for 9/12/14

September 14th, 2014 at 11:09 pm

$1500.00 BoA VISA
_1000.00 Loan to Mom
__300.00 Beef and Pork bought at the farm
__120.00 Physical Therapy
___90.00 Physical Therapy
__200.00 on prescriptions and OTC Medications
__100.00 on layer feed, turkey feed, crimped oats
__200.00 Glasses
____6.29 X-ray
___35.50 Medical
____9.08 Blood Work
____0.82 C-Pap filters

Payday Report for 9/5/14

September 14th, 2014 at 11:01 pm

$400.00 Utilities to Mom
_100.00 Emergency Fund
__20.00 HoA Dues
__28.97 Electric (Old House)
__48.60 Phone (Old House)
__75.65 Internet
__41.94 Garbage (2 months)
__45.30 Life Insurance DH
__44.66 Life Insurance Me
__70.86 Car Insurance
__48.75 House Insurance (Old House)
__41.16 Security System (Old House)
_186.00 Storage
_800.00 Van Loan (plus extra)

EF Update

September 14th, 2014 at 10:49 pm

$8920.22 Beginning Balance
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
$8930.22 Ending EF Balance

Emergency Fund Withdrawal

September 10th, 2014 at 05:51 pm

I had a bunch of medical stuff come up with my daughter, so I ended up taking some money out of the Emergency Fund to pay for it. I also deposited $100 back into it from the last paycheck, plus $3 from an overpayment into another account.

New EF total: $8920.22

Who knows what is coming up, either? My daughter has to have an ultrasound next week. We are suspecting gall stones. She's also having some other issues that sound very much to me like the endometriosis I was plagued with before my hysterectomy. So I need to see if I can find a female gyno that is taking new patients and takes our insurance.

I also have my MRI for my knee next week.

If my husband ever gets around to submitting the information for the kids' glasses to his insurance company, we will have some money coming back. It should be around $400. That will get dumped back into the EF. Hopefully we won't have to then turn around and spend it on upcoming medical bills. I am hoping to absorb most of that into the budget, but it isn't always easy to do that.

I wish DH's company would be more forthcoming about raises. They are majorly dragging their feet. It was supposed to happen months ago. The new insurance withholding that should have coincided with raises is really wrecking the budget.

Kindling Complete

September 7th, 2014 at 07:01 am

Well, it was a long day, but we have 19 newborn kits. All were born healthy and all three mothers are doing well.

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Kindling Has Started

September 6th, 2014 at 03:35 pm

Well, I'm on Kindle Watch for the next day or so. Sienna is in the process of giving birth. I walked in on one birthing squeal and heard at least two more while I was refilling water bottles. Serenity has pulled fur and is rebuilding her nest so I'm sure she'll go into labor soon if she hasn't already. Phoebe has a tunnel built in her nest box, but has not pulled fur. She looks completely unconcerned, but you can see her sides are squirming.

I blocked the chickens off from any attempts to get into the rabbit shed today. The does don't need to worry about a chicken running around beneath them or trying to perch on their cages. The chickens know they are not allowed in there, but will try at every opportunity to do so. They are like willful toddlers at times.

I am hopeful we will have 3 healthy litters before the day is out.

Wiped Out--School and Garden Update

September 5th, 2014 at 04:14 am

I am so tired. My body does not want to adapt to the new routine. I can't seem to get to sleep before 2 or 3 a.m., the sleep I get is surface sleep, not restful at all, and then I am having to get up at 7. And then after the kids get off to school and I take care of all the animals, I can't get back to sleep for a nap. I don't understand it, because I've been asleep by midnight pretty much all summer.

School is going great for the kids so far, though. They are both really enjoying their teachers and classes. And it is super nice to have the day to myself. Even if I can't manage to nap.

The garden is going gangbusters. The green beans are starting to produce, but not enough for canning yet. I think I may end up buying some this weekend and then if I have any of my own for canning it'll just be additional. Next year I will plant a lot sooner. Things just kind of got away from me in the spring and I didn't get going soon enough.

I plan on getting 40 pounds of tomatoes this weekend, too. While my tomatoes produced, it has never really been with much. The most I could can at any one time was 3 pints. I just ended up making spaghetti sauce and freezing it instead. But I do want to get some diced put up and maybe make a batch of ketchup. The Indigo Rose tomatoes have been fantastic. I am not one for eating raw tomatoes usually, but these ones taste sort of like melons with a rich tomato flavor added in. I will grow them again, along with the Russian Moskovich, but I will not grow the other two varieties I bought again.

I have some great zucchini, leeks, sweet meat squash, green onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and kohlrabi. The cukes are slow, but I'm getting 2 to 4 a week. I have more peppers coming but don't know if there will be time for them. I hope there will at least be time for them to be green if they can't get all the way to red.

On the spending front, I spent $90 at physical therapy today and $55.48 for a tank of gas.

I am expecting babies sometime between tomorrow and Sunday. I've got 3 pregnant rabbits due to kindle. I hope all goes well. Tomorrow is day 30. My rabbits have gone anywhere from day 30 to day 33. Average is 31 days, though.

Two of my Barnevelders are laying eggs now. They are about half size, but are getting bigger. They are cute, perfect little eggs. All of the ducks are laying now and Addy's eggs are finally full-size. I am getting 1 to 2 chicken eggs and 3 to 5 duck eggs a day. I sold 2 dozen duck eggs earlier this week for $5 a dozen. I am selling enough duck eggs now to pay for one bag of organic layer feed a month. The ducks and chickens go through a bag about every 2 weeks.

Tomorrow is payday and I am very glad of it. I've got a lot to get done. It'll be nice to be able to get most of it out of the way without the kids underfoot.

C1-360 Interest Added to EF

September 1st, 2014 at 07:22 am

$9851.66 Beginning EF Amount
+___5.39 Interest
$9857.05 Ending EF Amount

Emergency Fund Update

September 1st, 2014 at 07:19 am

$9841.66 Beginning EF Amount
+__10.00 Weekly Deposit
$9851.66 Ending EF Amount

Menu Planning for the Week

September 1st, 2014 at 07:12 am

I am still on a no protein buying kick (except sliced deli meat for school lunches this week) as we work on eating down the mini-chest freezer. The garden is finally starting to kick in enough harvests now that I should not need to buy any vegetables this week, and in a couple of days there will be lots of Italian plum prunes ready to eat so I won't need to buy any fruit this week. Well, I wouldn't need to anyway as we are still working our way through a large watermelon and we have a cantaloupe as well and an open jar of apple sauce that didn't seal.

Tomorrow I will bake a batch of egg "omelet muffins" where I will use 2 duck eggs, a tbsp. of diced green onions, a tbsp. of diced peppers, a tablespoon of diced tomatoes, and a tbsp. of diced ham per extra large muffin cup that has been greased with butter. Then the kids will just have to reheat them in the mornings. I will also make up several batches of pancakes for the freezer for making quick microwave pancakes in the mornings. I am not all that with it in the mornings, so if they just have something they can put together, I can be as zoned out as needed until it is time to drive.

Barbecue chicken wings
Leftover Roasted zucchini
Baked potatoes

Chicken and broccoli stir-fry

Fish and chips
Green beans

Chicken, onions, and peppers stir-fry
Italian plum prunes

Oven-roasted rabbit with basil, oregano, and thyme
Green Beans

Homemade pizza with ham, pepperoni, peppers, and onions
Cole slaw

Rabbit chili
Homemade bread
Italian plum prunes