Home > Archive: January, 2015

Archive for January, 2015

Meal Planning

January 29th, 2015 at 04:25 am

I forgot to post my meal plan on Sunday night. I am going to go ahead and post the meals I've already made this week anyway as I like going back and reviewing what I've made in the past when I am stuck for ideas.

Beef stew
Green beans

Chicken stir-fry

Homemade pizza with onions, bell peppers, pepperoni and homemade rabbit sausage
Cole slaw

Garlic Butter Roasted Chicken
Baked sweet meat squash

Pork chops

Sloppy Hoppies
Cole slaw

Fried rabbit
Fried potatoes

EF Update

January 29th, 2015 at 04:17 am

I was reconciling my accounts today and realized I forgot to add some interest into the EF at some point. It was 35 cents. New balance is:


Emergency Fund Update

January 22nd, 2015 at 07:29 pm

$11,549.20 Beginning EF Balance
___,_20.00 Last week's and this week's auto deposits
$11,569.20 New EF Balance

I have done some figuring and we might be able to get around using the EF for house stuff by using money in the other funds instead.

$500.00 from Propane Fund
$300.00 from Property Tax Fund
$800.00 from School Fund
$200.00 from January 2016 Money Fund
+_70.00 from Dues Fund Excess
1870.00 Total

That would leave us with $200 in the Propane Fund and $200 in the School Fund. Property Tax is paid in full through April and with the house closing at the end of February we would not need to use that money to pay PT. However that is the last place I will take it from just in case the sale falls through. I would draw it from the other funds first.

Things and Other Things

January 22nd, 2015 at 03:44 am

There really hasn't been all that much to write about this week. I've lost 9 pounds since December 31st, so my diet is going pretty well. We haven't spent much money this week.

We may have some house expenses coming up. Apparently there has to be an inspection of the foundation and we will have to pay for that. I'm not sure why the sellers have to pay it, though. It seems like the buyers should have to pay for all inspections, but I guess not in this case. I swear, I never want to deal with this type of house again in my life.

So, so far, it looks like we're going to have to pay $1000 between the wood stove fix and the foundation inspection. So I probably will end up taking money out of the EF. Since DH also is having dental work done tomorrow and just had a second sleep study done and will have to buy a B-PAP machine, which is more expensive than a normal C-PAP machine, and since our deductible started over insurance won't cover much if any of it, we may really be seeing a dent in the EF.

DH says I can take most of his school money ($800 of the $1000 we set aside) since he doesn't think he'll be ready to do that until after the income tax refund comes back anyway. I hate to do that, though. Of course I hate depleting the EF even more, but we'll see.

Our real estate agents (husband/wife team) wants to sit down and discuss our looking at houses as soon as the sale closes. I don't want to and don't like the pressure. I think we will need to save for an additional year before we are ready to buy a house, possibly longer. I just want a bigger EF and a bigger down payment so our mortgage payment doesn't cost an arm and a leg every month. I just don't think I am ready to go through the stress of looking at houses. DH is probably going to have to tell them to back off.

Plus I want to enjoy being totally debt free for a while (except the loan from Mom), which we will be once we pay the guy who did the house repairs and pay off the van. I just want to have all that stress free time to save like maniacs. Of course that is assuming we can put up with Mom's particular brand of crazy for another year. At the very least we want to finish off the school year, here, though.

Also DD is talking about moving in with two of her friends in the summer of 2016 and if that is the case we can actually look at some smaller houses. She wants to find a job after graduation and work for a year, saving as much money as she can, before getting an apartment. We will try to pay for one class a semester at the community college for her. She'll have one credit when she graduates because her Psychology class counts as a college level credit.

The ducks laid two eggs today. We haven't gotten 2 eggs in a day from them since December, so either they are starting to gear back up again due to the longer days or one of the 2 new ducks has relaxed enough to start laying. Wade has been mating both of them so that might have kicked one of them into gear. Both ducks have been completely accepted into the flock now.

Nothing else really going on around here. Sticking to the meal plan and not going out to eat.

In Search of...

January 20th, 2015 at 08:54 am

I need a new blender. The motor on my blender burned up right when I was in the middle of making homemade mayo for the first time. So of course we couldn't get it to emulsify and ended up wasting a cup of oil and a duck egg. Or well, we would have, but I threw some honey into it and a little store bought mayo and am using it as the dressing on coleslaw. I will try again in the future, but obviously not until we get a new blender.

So, this is the second Oster I've had that has had the motor burn up after using it for less than a year. And this one was maybe used 20 times. That's all. So no more Oster for me. Can anyone recommend a good blender that lasts and doesn't try to catch the house on fire? I'm just looking for a place to start my research.

Meal Planning for the Week

January 19th, 2015 at 11:35 pm

I am baking my first loaf of bread in the new bread machine today. I gave my mother hers back. I love the new one so far. It is so much easier to put the parts together and use. I loathed my mother's machine, and only ever used it to mix dough and would bake in the oven instead. Hers had a round loaf pan which is just all sorts of impractical. The one I got for Christmas has a rectangular loaf pan with 2 paddles so the bread will come out looking like a normal loaf and not something that won't fit well in a sandwich baggy.

Hopefully it turns out well. I used all purpose flour and not bread flour. I hate using bread flour as it has all kinds of additives in it. But I was assured on the bread machine forum that it was fine to use in this particular machine. I am looking forward to having fresh bread in the house again. It has been a while, but is something I definitely want to get back into.

Anyway here is my menu plan for the week.

Teriyaki Chicken
Baked potatoes
Green beans
Fresh bread

Braided Chili Loaf
Baked Broccoli and Cauliflower

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Garlic bread
Leftover Broccoli and Cauliflower

Meatball Sandwiches made using leftover meatballs, leftover sauce, cheese, and leftover garlic bread
Cole slaw

Rabbit Stew (rabbit, potatoes, carrots)
Fresh baked bread
Green Beans

Chicken stir-fry (with broccoli, carrots, celery, snow peas, water chestnuts, onions, bell peppers)
Egg fried rice

Beef pot roast
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Homemade biscuits with choice of homemade jam
Green Beans

Stuff and Other Stuff

January 17th, 2015 at 07:06 am

We went to Costco today and spent $211. I stocked up on toilet paper, bought some tikka masala spices, vitamins, fuzzy socks(!), and of course groceries. We also got gas. It was $1.84 a gallon and we got just over 11 gallons. We paid just a smidgeon above $20. I can't even remember the last time that happened.

The house contract was signed Monday night by all parties. They have scheduled their inspection. We have to do $500 worth of work on the wood stove to bring it up to code. I think we will be able to swing that without touching the Emergency Fund. Since I have $700 in the propane fund (and still have $50 of credit with the co-op) and still haven't had to fill the tank, I can take most of it from there, and I also have an extra $70 in the dues fund. I am trying not to get excited about the house sale happening because it fell through last time, but I am a little bit.

I have now lost 8 pounds since starting my diet December 31st. I hope that continues to go well. I still need to lose a few more pounds to win my dietbet. I think I am going to make it. I've got 15 days left. Even if I don't win, the support of the group has been wonderful and it is worth that for $30. But I want to win.

I have managed to keep my calorie intake in my goal range every day but one. I went over by 15 calories that day, so I still consider it a win.

Tomorrow I have someone dropping off a baby aloe plant for me and another person buying 2 dozen duck eggs for $10. That will bring farm sales for the month to $37.50.

I received my Costco bonus check for $46.27 today. Of course I didn't open the mail until after we'd come back from our shopping trip to Costco. Wish I had because that check can only be cashed at Costco. DH will have to run in there on Sunday. We'll be going past it on the way to visit his parents so we won't have to make a special trip.

I think that about covers everything.

Payday Report

January 17th, 2015 at 06:48 am

$1700.00 Bank of America
$1000.00 Loan to Mom
__225.00 Chiropractor
__103.00 Medical
___90.00 Physical Therapy
___42.88 Prescription
___50.00 Allowances
___20.11 Gas($1.84 a gallon!)
__100.00 Cash for Week
$3330.99 Total Money Out

New Ducks and a Farm Sale

January 14th, 2015 at 04:59 am

We were given two ducks today, both females, from someone who was having predator problems and they had wiped out her flock except for these two. We have named them Bluebell (she's a Blue Swedish) and Daisy (she's a Khaki Campbell).

Integration was interesting. I think it is all going to be okay, though. It isn't like with chickens where the birds can be downright nasty to newcomers. They are very well taken care of, healthy animals. I wasn't planning to add any more ducks to the flock, but it is hard to say no to free, especially after losing Lemon.

I did a short little vid if anyone is interested.

Text is and Link is

Tomorrow I have someone coming to buy a 4 month old doe kit. It's a non-pedigreed but purebred New Zealand White, so only $20. Proven and purebred go for more and reds go for more than that. This will bring my January farm sales to $27.50. But DS gets a percentage because he does so much work with the animals. He gets 1/3.

House Stuff

January 13th, 2015 at 09:44 pm

After receiving a revised offer from the first set of buyers, we have decided to go with the offer from the second set of buyers. While the revised offer was $6K above asking price, with the amount of closing costs they still wanted us to cover and all the fees we would have to pay dealing with a VA loan, it still came out to $500 less than the offer from the 2nd set of buyers.

If they'd been willing to go up $1K higher or reduce the amount of closing costs they wanted us to cover, which they wouldn't, it would have been worth it, but all things being almost equal, we decided it was better to go with the people who were straight-forward and had less hoops we'd have to jump through, and who didn't try to majorly lowball us on their first offer. The first folks gambled. They tried to play hardball instead of making a fair first offer. They lost.

So the realtors will fax the paperwork to DH to sign and then once they've got it back, they will come over here for me to sign it this afternoon and we will be under contract again. Hopefully this time all will work out, but with the letter from the bank in hand, it seems like it should.

Got the Second Offer!

January 13th, 2015 at 04:48 am

We got the second offer on the house and it is full asking price, except they want us to pay 3% of their closing costs, which I consider reasonable. My realtor has told the other realtor from the first offer that there has been a second, better offer, so they are going to revise their offer. But I doubt it will be better, and I'm more inclined to go with the folks that didn't try to lowball us in the first place.

I'd also rather our realtors got the full commission based on how much they have done as opposed to splitting it with the other realtor who basically showed the house twice and has come in at zero hour and also wrote an offer that was kind of insulting.

I know a lot can go wrong between now and then. A lot. And I know that accepting an offer and going under contract doesn't mean anything. But I am a little hopeful, finally, that something might actually come of all of this. Just even coming close to getting full asking price is remarkable. I'd be very happy with that.

Second Offer Soon

January 13th, 2015 at 12:57 am

The second set of buyers got their financing and are currently having their offer written up by our realtors. The first set is being super impatient about getting an answer to their offer, even though they only made it on Saturday afternoon. But they can be impatient. This is a big decision to make and I am not going to rush it without having the other offer in hand. Plus they didn't put a time limit on how long we have to consider it.

I mean we will make the decision tonight, I am sure, but we won't before we have all the information in place. Waiting a few days is not going to be the end of the world for these people. I know it is hard to wait in this day and age of everything being fast, fast, fast, but some things still take time.

I kind of think they thought we would snap up their offer immediately because of the length of time the house has been on the market. But the thing is, we don't NEED to sell it. Yeah, it would be nice to have it gone and the money in the bank and it would make life easier. But we are not desperate enough to just take anything. It wouldn't hurt if they were a little worried now about the tightness of their offer and were second guessing themselves.

I don't want to be greedy. I just want to be reasonable and have the offers be reasonable, too.

Menu Planning for the Week

January 12th, 2015 at 07:08 am

I have almost everything on hand that I need for dinners this week. I do need to pick up some cabbage for cole slaw and some broccoli and cauliflower, but other than that I am good to go.

Crockpot BBQ Ribs
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans

Teriyaki Flank Steak
Fried Potatoes
Roasted Broccoli/Cauliflower
Strawberries (from my frozen summer stash)

Bacon Cheeseburgers
Cole slaw

Beef stir-fry with carrots, celery, onions, snow peas, broccoli, and cauliflower

Fried Rabbit
Baked Potatoes
Green Beans

Homemade Pizza with rabbit sausage, ham, onions, and bell peppers
Cole slaw

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Garlic Bread
Cole slaw

House Update Offer(s)

January 11th, 2015 at 11:42 pm

So it looks like we might get two offers on the house this week. One person is preparing an offer right now that I am a little meh about. The VA offers we have received have always lowballed us and this one is worse than the last two who never made it official. The other will know if they got their financing tomorrow and then will make an offer that I hope is better than the other one. But if the second one doesn't materialize, we will probably accept the other just to be done with it.

I am getting annoyed with people who don't want to pay their own closing costs. We paid ours and the market was much more favorable to buyers then so we could have probably gotten them to do it, but we felt like it was being cheap to try, especially since they'd come down $20K in asking price. I am starting to think it is just the thing to do for people to get the sellers to pay the closing costs, whether the market validates it or not.

Emergency Fund Update

January 10th, 2015 at 06:40 am

$11,371.20 Beginning EF Balance
+__,178.00 Monthly Deposit (plus)
$11,549.20 New EF Balance

$3450.80 to go to hit my $15K goal and $450.80 to go to hit my mini-goal of $12K.

Payday Report

January 10th, 2015 at 06:37 am

It was good to finally get to payday. This year I am going to start much earlier on saving for the shut down that occurs every December at DH's work. As in, this paycheck. And in April when things cycle around so that we'll have an extra paycheck, I will put a good chunk of it into that fund as well. It was nice to be able to get through that time period without touching the Emergency Fund and I am glad we did not rely on the Christmas Bonus as that went to pay for the car roof repair and Christmas. There was nothing of it left for living expenses.

The paycheck is about $100 less for this pay period than it has been due to the new 401K withdrawal. Not too big of an amount to absorb easily. We'll see how it goes for the whole month before we decide to up it a percent, though.

Payday Report:

$800.00 to Van Loan (including extra)
_400.00 to Mom's utilities
__24.28 Electricity (old house)
__75.65 Internet
__48.60 Phone (old house)
__46.00 Security Monitoring (old house)
__41.94 Garbage (two months)
__13.75 Medical
__29.85 Medical
__66.61 Medical
_100.00 Allowances (two weeks, 2 kids)
_100.00 Cash for Week
_178.00 Emergency Fund
_100.00 Property Tax Fund
_100.00 December Money Fund
_100.00 Propane Fund (old house)

The Propane Fund now sits at $700. The December Money Fund is at $233.55.

And Another Bigger EF Deposit and Goals

January 9th, 2015 at 01:25 am

$11,047.70 Beginning Balance
+__,323.50 Deposit Added
$11,371.20 New Balance

This is survey money, egg and rabbit sales, and coin jar money. I decided to wait on buying stock so that money is going into the EF instead. I really want to get the EF to $15K this year. I would just feel more secure with that amount in the bank.

$3,628.80 left to go to hit $15K and $628.80 to hit my first mini-goal of the year. Tomorrow is payday and I have $78 even left in the checking account and that will get sent to the EF tomorrow. Not sure yet if I'll have the monthly $100 deposit out of tomorrow's payday or next weeks, though. We have some medical bills to pay so we'll have to see how that changes things first.

This is the first paycheck with the 401K, also, so I don't yet know how much of a difference that will be in planning my budget.

Emergency Fund Update

January 8th, 2015 at 10:58 pm

$11,037.70 Beginning Balance
+__,_10.00 Weekly Deposit
$11,047.70 New Balance

Close to an Offer

January 8th, 2015 at 10:57 pm

We've got some people who are close to making an offer on the house. I am not holding my breath, but it would be really nice if this time it panned out. We've had five showings since Christmas. Only 1 out of 5 has the credit scores necessary to buy, though, but that couple has really good credit. Why do people look at houses if they don't have their stuff worked out for buying? I am tired of Looky-Lous. At least it is not our agents showing it to those types, but others.

Gas prices are making folks think that living out there won't be too hard on the commute if they work in town. I hope someone buys before gas prices rise again!

Again, I am not holding my breath. This has been a long process. We are prepared to drop the price yet again, but are hoping that won't be necessary. There were a couple comps that sold for more than that recently (and our house is in better shape), so there is hope. But like I said, I am not holding my breath. If it happens, it happens. I am not prepared to think about it too much until a contract materializes, and even then, after what happened last time, not going to get excited until I know the financing is set.

Surveys, Etc.

January 7th, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Yesterday I decided to give Swagbucks a whirl again. It has been several months since I've bothered. My only real goal with it is to earn at least 100 points a day, so I can earn $25 a month. I quit when they were having problems with the toolbar and malware, but so far so good.

I haven't gotten any surveys from Pinecone in two weeks, which is weird, because generally I get at least one a week from them, plus a couple of screeners, and there before Christmas I was getting 2 a week for a couple weeks.

I am waiting for some things to credit to ACOP and then I should be able to cash out for $10. I like ACOP, but they take forever to process stuff. It takes a minimum of 2 weeks (usually longer) for a survey to be credited to the account and then you can only cash out when you've earned $10 or more and then that takes 2 to 4 weeks to process. It does come eventually, but I have no clue why they have to take forever. This stuff should be automated.

I miss some of the older survey companies that have gone out of business, but were always reliable. Or that changed their methods so they aren't as lucrative. Oh, well. At least there are still a few.

Today was Beautiful

January 7th, 2015 at 04:43 am

It was 50 degrees out today. That's practically tropical for this time of year. While the sky was pretty overcast, there were patches of blue and the sun peaked through from time to time and other times was backlighting the clouds in a gorgeous fashion. It is nice to have a break from all the dripping.

I didn't make it through my planned ten days without spending money. I bought a jacket today. I was able to get it today only at 50% off both the jacket and the shipping. I've been needing a new coat. I have my parka for the really cold days, but it is too hot to wear if it is over 40 degrees. But 40 is too cold for just a sweatshirt. It is also waterproof, which is a necessity here.

My other lighter weight jacket I use when I take care of the animals, and it is a good coat for this type of weather, but it smells like barn, plus it has gotten a bit ripped up by the rabbit claws. I don't like walking around smelling like barn in public!

It is a really pretty shade of blue and it will go very well with the new purse I got for Christmas. They are both a pretty jewel tone. I love jewel tones. The deep colors look good on me. I'm not one who can wear pastels or browns, oranges, or yellows. But the deep colors of blue, green, red, burgundy, and purple and the brights like teal, lime, turquoise, hot pink, and magenta, I can do very well. So I am happy to find a coat in a good color for me.

The diet is coming along. I have lost 6 pounds so far. I had a bit of bad day a few days ago and ate some fudge my son had made. By some I mean 4 pieces. It is gone now. I made the kids eat it and take it to school. So that made my loss stand still for a couple days. If it is not in the house I won't eat it. I shouldn't have let him make it in the first place. I need to be much more further along before I can resist things like that. I'm not against a treat now and then, but I need to stay away from chocolate.

I am glad that payday will be here on Friday. It has been a long, long time since the last one. But we made it through without having to touch the EF, which is wonderful. I feel very positive about our finances right now. I hope that feeling stays with me for a long time.

Enchilada Recipe for Thriftorama

January 6th, 2015 at 09:15 pm

Enchilada Sauce


3 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups water
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce


1. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Add water to dry mix 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly until a paste is formed

3. Scoop the paste into a sauce pot and, using a whisk, add remaining water.

4. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.

5. Add tomato sauce, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 4 cups

For enchiladas you will need:

4 cups of cooked rabbit (or chicken) meat
1/2 a batch of enchilada sauce
Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
Tortillas (10 inch)

Put a thin layer of enchilada sauce down on the bottom of a glass baking pan.

Lay out a tortilla on a dinner plate. Add 1/8 of the rabbit or chicken meat starting at one end and stopping 2 inches from the other end of the tortilla.

Spoon some enchilada sauce over the meat. Not too much or it will make the tortilla get wet.

Add cheese. Roll over once and then fold empty two inch end towards center of tortilla. Continue to roll up enchilada and place seam side down in baking pan.

Continue until you have finished rolling 7 to 8 enchiladas or whatever will fit in your baking pan.

Pour enchilada sauce over top of enchiladas.

Sprinkle cheese on top, as much or as little as you want. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve.

If you would like to see the recipe with photos accompanying each step it is on my other blog here:

Text is and Link is

Menu Plan for the Week

January 6th, 2015 at 01:57 pm

New York steak
Green beans
Salad with bell peppers

Roasted garlic chicken
Baked potatoes
Cole slaw with bell peppers

Homemade pizza
Cole slaw

Cole slaw

Fried Rabbit
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Green beans

Beef Stew
Cole slaw

Pork chops
Fried Potatoes
Cole slaw
Green beans

Oh, Goodness

January 3rd, 2015 at 09:14 pm

I've lost 5 pounds so far on my diet. That's exciting. My diet bet started today. I've got all my breakfasts and lunches prepared for 4 days. It made a nice difference with not having to think about what to eat.

Email notifications for comments started working again today. I got 54! I'm pretty sure that's a good six week's worth all at once. Yikes. Hmm, I wonder if that means the side bar editing is working again, too? There is some obsolete stuff there I've been trying to take off for ages, like links to sites that no longer exist. I wonder if the ability to add photos the SA way instead of having to set up a photobucket image url has been fixed yet?

What is Your Favorite Crockpot Recipe?

January 2nd, 2015 at 11:08 pm

Since there were some really great ideas posted last month when I asked about go to meals, I thought I'd ask for crockpot meals this month. I am trying to increase my repertoire of these easy to make meals.

My favorite is pulled pork made with a pork butt roast, a jar of arrabiata sauce (from Trader Joe's), 4 oz can of green chiles, and a pint of canned tomatoes, drained. Cook on low for 8 hours.

So what is your favorite? It'd be great to see some that don't rely on cream of something soup or dry onion soup mix, but go ahead and post those, too, if that's your favorite.

Emergency Fund Update

January 2nd, 2015 at 04:45 pm

Today is the weekly $10 deposit to savings. usually it is on Thursday, but because of the holiday it didn't transfer until today. I added it to the Emergency Fund.

$11,027.70 Beginning Balance
+____10.00 Amount Added
$11,037.70 New Balance

On the Weight Loss Front

January 1st, 2015 at 09:58 pm

Although my dietbet doesn't officially start until the 3rd, I had my starting weight approved yesterday and started eating properly and drinking extra water yesterday as well. This morning I had lost 2 pounds. So I am off to a good start.

I wanted to end the old year on a good note with a healthy day of eating and I wanted to start the new year off with it as well. It would have been easy to tell myself that I could eat whatever until the official start date, but that could have led to a lot of junk food bingeing and who wants that?

It's kind of like when you are trying to get out of debt and you see this big hill in front of you that you have to climb. You might be tempted to put off starting for a few days, get in a last hurrah of spending before you settled down and put your nose to the grindstone of paying off what you owe, but why? Why make it worse for the psychological thrill of buying a few more "extras" when you can start to get your life back today. No need to make the hill higher or the hole deeper or whatever metaphor you like. Once the mind is made up, it is better to just let the body follow.

Interest Added to EF

January 1st, 2015 at 09:28 pm

$11,020.00 Beginning Balance
+_____7.70 Interest
$11,027.70 New Balance

This is the interest of $7.22 from C1-360 and $0.48 from CU#2.