Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stupid Tax

If you are at all familiar with Dave Ramsey you know what Stupid Tax is. For those of you not in the know I'll enlighten you. Stupid tax is when something dumb you do costs you money.

Last week was my stupid tax moment. Last friday I was running around frantically preparing for my parents 40th anniversary party. The car started supttering and then finally JUST DIED. Right there on the street. Luckily I have AAA. 20 Min later I was riding with a smelly tow truck driver who dropped me off at my house while my car went over to the local mechanic. I fretted because the truck is 10 years old and someday the cost to repair it will be more than it's worth. Would this be that time I wondered?

I got a call from the mechanic a little later.

Apparently the gas indicator light is blown and I RAN OUT OF GAS!!!!

This is the 3rd time in my life I've RUN OUT OF GAS. Had I been paying attention to the level rather than waiting for the light this would not have happened. The new rule in the house is that 1/4 of a tank is now considered EMPTY.

Cost to tell me I'm a dumbass=$61.25

Stupid Tax.

Mr Clean, My New BEST FRIEND!

Ok, I know I'm late to the party on this one. WAY late as this product has been around for awhile.

First off, I'll say I'm not a gadget/gimick girl. I like simple things. I like doing things that old fashioned way. I clean with a rag and some cleaner. Sometimes I make the cleaner myself. I have never ever felt the need for a Mr Clean Magic Eraser.

Then my daughter drew on the white kitchen table with a marker.

NOTHING worked. The next time I was in the store I saw a magic eraser and in an uncharastic move, bought one on impulse.

HOLY COW. It worked like crazy. WITH JUST WATER. Then I used them all over the kitchen. That kitchen table I told you about-It's wood with a white painted finish (Purchased pre-child!) The chairs have this FILM on them that NOTHING takes out. NOTHING but my NEW BOYFRIEND MR CLEAN THAT IS!

If you know something bad about thse please don't tell me. They aren't made in China right? The fact that it uses only water is not offset by a terribly wasteful environment harming manufacturing process right???? I mentioned it at a dinner party and Rick told me he thought they were made by conservatives in New England. I'm just gonna go with that. OK!

Friday, September 26, 2008

For Deanna and Catherine (and Karen too)

Two of my four faithful readers called yesterday to see if I had gone off on a spending frenzy as have not posted in 2 weeks. Thanks for noticing ladies.

Here is something frugal and easy to do with your girls (or whenever you need a quick chocolate cake fix!)


You may or may not be glad that I introduced you to this. You probably have all the stuff you need in your kitchen and this would be a fun activity to try with your kids. On the other hand, it makes access to chocolate cake WAY TOO EASY.

And it really is good. Don't ask me how I know. Also don't ask me how I know that it's really good with Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa. I've been thinking of ways to dress it up a bit with chocolate chips or peanut butter. But really, do I even want to go there???

I know I said that it was for your kids but I really see you three ladies sitting around the office having cake some afternoon! At any rate, it's cheap, easy and yummy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pioneer Weekend Update

Just a quick update on our Pioneer weekend. The date has been changed to October 12th and 13th! We actually get there on the afternoon of the 11th (oh, one month from tomorrow I just noticed) but visitors can't come until the Saturday the 12th. I know a few people have been making plans to visit so I just wanted to let you know! One step closer to being Ma Ingalls!

I did get a few updates on the actual weekend that I thought would be fun to share.

1) We don't get to shower! (Although they do give us homemade soap to wash up with in the cabin) we don't even get to bring toothpaste. (They give us some kind of tooth powder) We get to bring a toothbrush, underwear and shoes.
2) There will be a barn dance to welcome us. I'm hoping this dance is the first evening when we arrive so I still look somewhat presentable to be meeting strangers.
3) They are having a church service on Sunday and I get to ring the church bell!
4) I will be spinning on a drop spindle.
5) There will be butter churning.
6) My husband gets to make all of the decisions and decide if he wants to help on any of the household chores that my children (that I don't have) would be usually be doing as traditional gender roles will be followed that weekend.
7) There will be physical labor for my husband and possibly a visit to the tinsmith or cooper to try his hand at those items.
8) The bathroom is fairly far away and we are the only people in the whole LARGE dark village that night. There is a person up at the main modern building with a walkie talkie in case we break a leg or something. Other than that, we are out there alone!
9) I think that scary water yoke thing was mine to haul water with.

And just a note to those of you planning to visit, there is a coupon in the entertainment book for buy one admission get one free.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Free Food Grab-Where I Find Out I Am No Farmer

Today Kristin and I went to our CSA, Windy Meadow Farm, where they had "open pick tomatoes" Which is basically a chance to go, at no extra charge, and pick as many tomatoes as you like. AS MANY AS YOU LIKE. How psyched was I over free food! When we got there they told us that we could pick corn and peppers as well. ALSO AS MANY AS WE WOULD LIKE.

And boy did we pick. We picked a lot of food. And carried a lot of food. It was tiring and we wore shorts and our legs got scratchy. We also had never picked corn before so there was a small learning curve there! Holy cow, I could not help but wonder HOW they harvest all that food each week with any sort of expedience. Two hours of picking was enough for me. I was tired when I got home. My legs and feed were dirty and splashed with tomato guts. We discussed how we were so glad we were picking today and not yesterday when it was 90 degrees.

We met the farmers who were really nice and my appreciation for those farmers grew exponentially today. It was neat to see all of the veggies growing. I bought some organic eggs and some sunflowers from the farmers children.

I brought a lot of beautiful food home which I started to preserve today.

I've often thought in a parallel reality I should live on a farm. Today I realized I'm a gardener, not a farmer.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Postcard From My Garden

Look at my beautiful garden!

Ok that is actually the ONLY view that isn't overgrown or has not been ravaged by deer or squash bugs or too much rain.....

I do have a bumper crop of herbs, turnips, kohlrabi and zinnia! Weird combo I know. The bed to the right is being re-planted with fall greens, broccoli and beets this week. I will also be using a fence!

Know Your Zip Code!!!

This past March I bought a nice higher end/volume all in one HP device for my eBay business. At least higher end and pricier than any machine I've had to date. 6 weeks ago it got a paper jam that I could not fix. (um yes, perhaps turning the machine AROUND to see that there is a back panel would have aided this much sooner.) Anyway, today I cleared the jam.

The darn thing would not work. I worked on this thing for HOURS. Installing and re-installing print drivers, using every possible USB chord in the house, calling it bad names, NOTHING worked. I finally called HP where I spent an hour on the phone with a humorless man in India.

Finally we came to the resolution that I will be getting a whole new device sent to me for free (Yipee me!!!) So comes to the part where they ask for your address. I actually don't KNOW my 4 digit zip code extension. The Indian man would not believe that it would come to me anyway. He told me he would not send the machine if I didn't give him that 4 digit extension. I finally looked it up online. After that his darn machine said my real 5 digit zip was not right. (And I DO CLEARLY KNOW THAT) I told him I was sure of the first part of my zip code. He did not believe me. He again told me that if I didn't tell him the real number that my shiny, new, WORKING machine would not be sent. This went on and on and finally he went to ask his supervisor what to do about people who don't know their zip code.

Seriously, don't these people have a program that does that? When I worked I was the project manager for just such a thing! I even got an award from the Post Office for automating this for my company. (I know, I didn't need to include that. I kind of like that I got an award from the Post Office though!) My company was smaller than HP for goodness sake. Anyway, I HAD given him the right number. He finally re-booted his computer and guess what, I DO know my own zip code.

The moral to this story is that I never thought that the warranty that came with a piece of equipment were actually worth anything (I'm not talking extended warranty which I never buy). Apparently they do work sometimes!

Moral #2-Learn your 4 digit zip extension!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Crab Apple Time!

On the property where we have our yearly vacation is a large gorgeous Crab Apple tree. What is a gal to do with (free) crab apples you ask!

Last year I made Crab Apple jelly and Crab Apple liqueur. They were both yummy. The favorite among my friends was the liqueur. (Although I do think Deanna used the jelly over a ham which I thought was quite nice!) I made an experimental batch last year that weconsumed rather quickly at a dinner party. I also sent guests home with little bottles. Bridget made Crab Apple martinis. I like it served over ice with some sparkling water.

It's outrageously easy!

4 quarts crab apples
4 cups sugar
3 cups vodka (you can use a cheap kind!)

Take a 4 quart mason jar, and fill it with crab apples that have been washed and quartered.
Add 4 cups of sugar and three cups of vodka. Store the jar on its side, turning once every day for 30 days to get the sugar to dissolve.
After 30 days, filter out the fruit bits and bottle. This recipe can be done on nearly any scale from 1 qt. to 4qt.

It's all I'm making this year! I have 3 large jars started and will have more tomorrow after I purchase more vodka. Hoping that I have enough for myself this year as well as some to give as gifts this Christmas!