Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pay Cut

Isn't he the cutest thing ever?
Still in pain with the back, but I'm moving, this was probably the worse one yet. Wish insurance paid for an x ray so I know what is going on back there. But called for a quote last year and the cash out of pocket would have been more then we made in a week. Not happening. So I live with the pain, but this one nearly did me in. To add to it, I can't take pain killers because my kidney's do not like them and that is worse pain then labor. I've had three kids I can tell ya the pain is worse. So....
Any who, we finally saw our pay cut this week. Cracks me up, they remove hubby from the position but yet took many, many weeks to find someone to fill it. No one wanted it. Hubby wanted it. But he likes his new hours. Well if one likes getting up at 3am go for it. I do not enjoy the alarm going off at 3am.
Pay cut hurts, shocking right? Looked at the amount verses past couple weeks of budgets, we are not going to make it. Even through I have cut here and there, we not going to make it. But grateful we finally got through the re-fi on the mortgage, that really helps. Looks like we will be back to robbing Peter to pay Paul sort of thing. On the weeks where it's super tight the van won't get money, but should be able to pick it up at the end of the month if we can keep the energy bills low.
So 15 dollars an hour would be a dream. Although what many do not understand is once we finally get 15 an hour we will need 20. Just don't understand how one works in one place for well over 20 years and makes well under 15 an hour?
So I have two kids in braces coming. Tucker starts in June, Ethan will be a ways behind him, still waiting for the referral. But Tucker has appointments lined up. So as those bills roll in pay those asap, try hard to stay up on medical/dental bills. But after that we are still saving for a second car, and a newer van. I hope that once we get a second car the van will last another 2 years, giving us time to really save. Once those are saved for, it's a matter of saving for a new house and paying down this house.
The pay cut makes me want to work even harder to pay down the house. My biggest fear is a job loss. We are not in a position for a job loss, so need to work towards that. But really I want a new house. 5 people in this house, we are on top of each other, the Lego room explodes nearly daily. Cooking dinner some nights just suck, no counters, it's tight in there. And the land, I want land and space.
So I think with a mix of paying down the house and saving I would love to pay nearly cash for the next house and just be ok? But that is a ways a way. Saving for a second car is first. And staying up with the dental payments.
To save for the second car, we have been working next door. The neighbors want work done, it's odds and ends. This week we are putting on cabinet doors that we designed last week, we were just waiting for the stain to dry. And then we picked up wood for two twin size beds so start on those. We get paid by the hour. There is a list a mile long for next door, but only one thing a week, we do it, we get paid and she picks the next project. So I'm hoping to have the second car saved for sooner then later....
I so love stories like this those who finally get it, and do all they can to pay down debt and have that feeling of being free. Our feeling won't be for a long while. I know it's coming.

I know what it's like to have thousands of dollars of medical debt, tens of thousands of dollars, and where is the money going to come from? From working 80-100 hours a week and neglecting the kids because you have to take calls or do this or that. And there is no money for a sitter. From staying up until 2 or 3am to make food for lunches for kids and going to bed and getting up at 6am to do it all again. From getting a commission check to putting it in the bank and coming home and picking up one bill at a time and making that call, that call over and over until you run out of money. Panic attacks and sleepless nights.

We are so much better from there. New insurance which mostly covers the kids, good luck finding a doctor for us. Cut our every day expenses, cut school, cut driving, cut this, cut that. We don't need anything new, or we save for it until we can afford to pay cash for it. We don't have credit cards, we don't have cell phones, well ok we do, but they are the cheap over the counter phones, mostly so hubby and I can chat with each other, or if something happens when we are out. Costs us about 20 dollars every 3 months. We haven't eaten out in well over two years.

We will get there, but it will now be even slower going with the pay cut.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

It's been awhile

Well it's April the annual throw your back out week was here. I tossed it out good this time around. I did nothing, it just goes out every single freaking April. Wish I knew why? But insurance won't pay for anything, and we don't have the money for x-rays and such. So I live with it. I slow down, I don't stop because it's better to walk then sit, but can't lift. I also think my back knows it's dirt moving season and it doesn't want to move dirt.....So I'm still in recovery.
These two are so freaking cute. Buddy likes to sit on Sitka, it's really cute. 

This one has learned how to mow the yard. It's practice because he is now mowing for the neighbor. Any money made is split between savings and spending. 

This one is doing drawing on Thursdays instead of math. With all school on me now, it helps my Thursday, I have one off doing this and one off doing that and I'm fighting math with the big one. Cole is also so far ahead in math so he can have a day off a week. 

A gardeners nightmare, A tomato plant and an empty tag. Sigh. 

I made a quick quilt. I wanted to do more detail, but with the back out, this is as far as I got. I was on a time limit, well ok not really, because the project has been sitting here for like ever. But I wanted to get the project off my table. 

We were gifted a computer. Oh how I'm ever Thankful. Not easy to do school on one computer. Now our old computer the battery is dead. We were hoping it was just the cord, but it's the battery itself. So if you bump it, you are dead. Need to fix that. Ethan's been on the new computer a few times, and I found Cole on it once (a Lego site). OK then, probably go full force on it next school year. I'm also swagging when I can, just bought Ethan's birthday gift, A relief to get that two months early, And a great price.

And then the canning fairy stopped by. About 17 boxes of jars and a lot of odds and ends. I should have enough jars for about another year (JOKING) I probably shouldn't need another jar. But who says no to adopting another jar? At least I adopt jars and not cats?

So where do I start on the catching up. Things are just crazy daily. We finally made it through a re-fi. We changed up the Mortgage Lender, thinking after two fails, that may be the problem. Sure enough it was nearly stress free. She was on top of things and it was all smooth. After years of trying, it was nice to finally get through one. The main problem was our credit report was full of medical bills. They say medical doesn't count on a report, but it does. There is nothing on that report but medical.
 What I would do is every 3-6 months pull the credit report. I had a semi form letter all set, I would take each debt, tailor a letter to it and send it off to the credit agency, basically asking them to remove the medical debt. What in turn the agency is suppose to do is ask the person I owe the debt to, to prove I owe the debt, if no answer they have x amount of days to remove the mark off the report.
So everything I pulled the report it was interesting to see what was removed and what wasn't. Then the letters went out again. At the height we had a 10 page credit report. When we went through this re-fi we had 3 medical debts left. Our credit score went from 400 to over 700. But the whole process took over three years. We can now afford our mortgage and hopefully all medical bills. I have two with braces coming. Tucker should get his notice soon, and Ethan should be running roughly 6 months behind him.
In the mean time we are saving hard for a second car. We can not afford a loan. Plus I don't want a loan.
We've been semi working next door, small projects, but that money go towards the second car. If hubby isn't working next door then it may be time for a second job. After the second car, we have a van to save for. Hoping my van will hold out about two more years. But take it one day at a time. Hubby's pay cut isn't helping much either.
We've been working on a back yard project. scraping the play area ground, we are hoping to bring in about two yards of dirt, make it all smooth and put down grass seed and just make it all pretty back there, it's a wood chip mess out there, nothing is smooth it's horrible. So that is our current project. We are hoping to paint the house this year? I need to bring in some dirt. We are kinda waiting for my back to heal up some more.
I planted my last seed today. Yeah. Now to try and get everything out to the green house, I have ten trays left in the house. The tomatoes I have in the green house are doing well. So hoping to have the racks down by mid April. I got some of the onions planted, will do another round of planting in a few days.
Just a lot going on it's all me for homeschooling so I have that. I'm making lunch, I'm tending to the seedlings. You name it I'm doing it.
So hopefully do some garden updates soon? 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My Baby

My baby turned 9....My youngest is a whopping nine years old. What the freaking hell? Where did my snuggly 3 year old go?

So my baby has been giving some freedoms and he is ever so excited. He no longer has to ask for snacks. He just has to live by the rules. Nothing after 7:40pm and nothing after 3:30 pm. This child plays by the rules. he asks for every single snack, he has seen his brothers in trouble for eating after certain times. This child never ever wants to be in trouble. Today he got to use a knife. a dinner knife that is, I'm trying a chocolate recipe and you need a knife to get it out of the mold.
Well I'm teaching the kid to fish, so as we go through the year he will be given more freedoms. He is a great kid, does school work no problem. Because he never whines or complains and just does, he might be done in March. Although I will probably push it out a bit. Or finish him up and do some art stuff with him, he is a drawer. I would like to get him going on that.
Ever so sad....Long gone are the diapers and late nights, here are the early mornings and Lego's. Sigh

The Best GF Pancakes EVER

Diner Style Pancakes
By Marcie Dingerson

3 cups flour (1 1/2 cup Tapioca Flour and 1 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder (plus a pinch)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt

Mix together and set aside

1 cup pumpkin (or two eggs)
2 cups butter milk (I use coconut milk and vinegar set aside for a few minutes)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 spoon full butter I use earth balance.

Mix the wet, add in the dry. Now here is where it gets tricky. I often find it too wet even through I cut back on the milk, I will add in more brown rice flour until it's a thick batter, at times up to an extra cup of flour. The thicker the batter the better it will rise up.

Now I use a cast iron pan, it's pretty well seasoned. I find if I use a spray, I have a coconut spray in-between  pancakes. Get your pan nice and hot, do your tester, and turn it down a hair. These cook fast. They often rise after you flip.

I have doubled this recipe just fine.

We often have breakfast for dinner. The boys LOVE this recipe. Apparently if I ever loose this recipe I will be replaced. Well ok then....

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Weekly Update

Actually not much to update here. We got the seeding rack up, and I have trays ready. Tomorrow I fill the trays and then get tomatoes, and peppers started. The onions on the bottom shelf are doing great. 

So I've been leaning towards Paleo/Raw diet, well it's time I lean some more. I've been missing biking. Eons ago when I was young, I use to bike, bike all over town anywhere I needed to go, I would bike. To school, but I would take the long way around. But I've been really missing it, and I want to get back on a bike. BUT there is no where to bike around here, let alone get away from the house, with all the kids. So I'll buy a bike and cycle here. See if I can get back up to my 10-30 miles a day I use to do. I still have birthday and Christmas money, so I'll use that.
Starting Wednesday I'm aiming to be 90-95% Paleo or raw. Ethan and I Have sat down and re-arranged dinners, and made a list of dinners we can do. Now need to sit down and make a menu so I can plan out my weekly shopping. I'll get back onto my bone broth, I did it this past summer and it has killed some pain I was having. I was having side pain so bad there were days I couldn't move. Bone Broth brought it down so I have maybe one really bad night a week. But I'll do it this time in aiming to loose a few extra pounds that have been hanging around.
I've been hanging onto these shorts. I use to wear them before the kids came. I was able to fit into them after I had Tucker. I lost a ton of weight having Tucker. It was Cole that killed me. After you have the third kid, you frankly do not care about weight. But been working on it slowly over the years. Last year during the heat wave, between hot flashes and the heat the pounds melted away. But then it stopped, and I stalled again. But I wasn't trying either.
So now I will attempt. But it's more about eating better and getting back into shape. Sigh.

A hint to keep costs down. Borrow Paleo/Raw books from the library, if you like, but it used off Amazon and if you don't, then don't waste your time. I'm in that process now. I'll wait for the used price to come way down, but I do know who not to buy now. 

We are taking a week off of school this week. We've been working so hard it's time for a break. Do a break now, then work hard and take a break in April and then finish strong. I'm a bit worried about getting use to hubby leaving and me not getting back to sleep in the am. And then I'm cranky for the kids and cranky mom and math just doesn't work.
Hubby flips over to his new schedule this week. He will actually flip flop for a few weeks it looks like. Frankly I'm grateful each day he has a job. It's retail, he is getting older, they love to push out the older and get younger at cheaper pay.
Been out working in the garden this week, as of tomorrow I will have the old herb area killed. I totally lost two mints. And I was able to move four things and remove boxes and such. I have four more herbs left, then tear up the weed block and hope the grass grows back in. We will wait a year on the pear trees and see what happens. But they are so bent up and around and such, looking for sun I don't see how we will have pears this upcoming year?

This is the area of the garden where the neighbor parked her shed on the fence line blocking the sun from some of my garden, it was one of my herb areas, around the pear trees. Luckily they missed the blue berry patch. Because they look amazing, but lost every raspberry and some herbs along the way so far. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

I Birthed A Kangaroo

I tell you, it wasn't easy. But so worth it. What I LOVE about this pattern is it came with a photo tutorial. Because let me tell ya, I was in no mood last week to sew. But I had this pattern staring up at me, calling my name. Begging me to birth a kangaroo, and let me tell you I see why now.
I became frustrated last year with another designer, and swore off any more animal patterns. And then I fell in love with a Toucan. Head over heels. And this designer had a sale and after looking at all her designs, I picked a Kangaroo, and thought this was the last chance. And after sewing this little lady I will be back. I have a toucan to buy after all.

I added the pouch, the pouch is NOT in the pattern. It's really easy to do, you just add in the fabric first thing, and as you sew, trim it up a bit. I added the black trim before adding the legs. My boys said it had to have a pouch. 

When I buy a new pattern, I normally practice with scrap fabric or some Muslim fabric. It allows me to practice the pattern. To make any adjustments I need to make for myself. Allows me to fully understand the pattern before diving into my good fabric. Even for as long as I've been sewing I still believe in practicing.
Now to name the little lady?
You can buy your pattern here...

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Job Lose/Change of Job/Change of Position

No matter what you call it, it's utterly depressing. So hubby's work is "claiming" the current position he is in, is being moved to a training only position. Bull Crap. You can't be in that position for more then a year, then you have to move up or down the ladder.
For hubby to move up, we are talking boat loads of stress, we are talking about having to move stores, the second you move up the ladder, the company starts to move you from store to store, you have no say in where you go. We know many managers that drive 1-2 hours just to get to work. Odds are our drive will be over an hour. The company doesn't pay extra for gas. They just won't. So there goes any extra money that the position would come with.
Or move down the ladder, a lot less stress, he can stay with his current store, a 20 minute drive for us. But it's a pay cut. We will be making two dollars less an hour.

Honestly what I think is happening is something we have seen over and over and over again. No matter how good of an employee you are, his company likes to push out the aging employee's. We have seen it so many times. No one retires from his company, well ok one did two years ago, she some how made it to the end. But no one since that we know of has "retired" from the company.
This company just loves to treat their employee's like utter crap. I'm so tired of seeing it and now we are feeling it.
Yep, ask why does he work for them? well for the last few years we have been putting out applications. But no one wants to hire a middle aged guy. In about 3-4 years of putting out applications, we have yet to receive one call back. Which freaks me out because if they completely push him out we are up a creek.
So things are pretty depressing here right now. As we let all the piece's drop. What will be his new days off? what will the paycheck look like now? How much more can I tighten the budget? All the homeschooling will be dumped on me. Have to re-arrange dinner's. Since he will be home for dinner every night. Although now dumping all the night time stuff on me as well. Because odds are he will go to bed when the kids go to bed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bear Quilt

Found this guy on pinterest. Blew him up, no really blew him up, about six feet tall. I think the background is too dark for the black, so he really doesn't stand out to me? Although this is one quilt you need to see in person, photos do nothing for it. I like him, he was a challenge. 

Ocean Quilt

It started with a shark. I saw a shark sticker (kid ya not) and thought that would be awesome has a quilt. My first thoughts was to do a block quilt. A shark in one block a whale in another. But then the whale was created and I had a thought on coral, and rocks. Got it all done and then had to create some fish. This currently is not finished it's just the top. I'm going to have to spend a month quilting all these tops I'm creating. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Is It Spring Yet?

I got the leeks and onions going. I'm hoping with planting early this year they will be ready to harvest on time? I just now, well yesterday harvested my leeks. Part of it is a time issue.
The backyard garden is totally under construction. I'm re-arranging bricks and moving dirt around. I shouldn't have to spend a dime. But if I'm here for another year or two I have to have a backyard that works for me. This area drives me up the wall. So I run out in-between rain and I pick one project a day. Once that is done I come in. This way I'm not spending days and days out there in early spring. Hopefully I can take photos soon?
Up next I need to pick tomatoes and figure out what I'm growing. Won't be doing 500 tomatoes. Like last year. Should try and keep it under 100. Although so many tomatoes I want to grow. But after last year, I'm not the biggest fan of cherry tomatoes. I'll probably grow matt's folly, it's a great one to slice in half and put on the dehydrator. I have a list going for the neighbor. She came over one day and saw a purple tomato and about freaked out. Tomatoes are only red. Nope. I have every color I can think of. She took a purple tomato and raced home to show her husband. So I will plant blue berries for her. It's a lovely purple cherry tomato. I could talk tomatoes all night long, but won't.
Well talk about peppers instead....OK joking. Need to get on peppers too.
So basically every moment I can I'm out in the garden. Just waiting for spring.