Thursday, July 29, 2010

Some New Goals

It's been a very crazy year so far. It's time for some new goals. Our lives change nearly daily and it's all we can do to hang on some days.

Well first our medical debt is gone. GONE! At one point topping well over the 40,000 range. I had piles and piles and piles of bills some days. All piles are gone. It has taken four years. For the last year alone I have been working with a local lender and working on our credit report. I seriously had no idea medical bills were attaching themselves to our credit report and dragging down our scores. Now I know medical bills should not really drag down your score. In reality it does drag down your score.

I have had to call and write and pay and beg for them to remove themselves. Now if they can just magically add themselves to our report they should be able to magically remove themselves after we are paid in full. NOT! This alone was a full time job. Something I broke down to taking care of one thing daily. Because it utterly wore you out.

In the past four years hubby has had four surgeries and we have recovered Ethan from Autism. I have three in the house with Celiac. One with full blown Vilitigo.

Life has been really, really tough. It's been a crazy ride of life. And we have crappy insurance. With my job with each commission, we would put the check into the bank we would start paying down our medical bills. We would pay until the money was gone. So last year we did pay a great deal. But it's a hard, hard market and it's hard working a 60 hour job with three kids. So I gave it up. It was hard as I loved my job. But the kids are more important and Autism Sucks!

So we have changed a LOT of things around here.

We have no debt but the house. We now owe more on the house, but thought one bill verses loads of medical bills made more sense. So keep an eye on the right side of the blog. I will put our starting Mortgage amount and our current amount due. One of our biggest goals now is to cut everything and pay down and pay off the house sooner then later.

No you will see we don't owe a whole lot. It is a lot of money to us through. And with all the medical there have been times we worried if we would have to give up the house, or sell the house. Plus Hubby seriously makes next to nothing. But I want to know that we own the house out right. I want to know this is mine and all mine. So a few years of cutting way back for that is do-able.

So we need to cut back even more then we have. I need to grow more, and can more. Our cars have to hold out and with mine leaking all the fluids I worry I will be walking sooner then later.

We need to live on even less. Can we do it? Can I only hit a store twice a month? Can we barter more then we do now?

Some things we have learned along the way, we went to pre-paid cell phones. I spend 30 about every two months or so. Why buy when you can make? I can all I can-can. Coupons, and sales and discounts, and really do you have to buy that? Craigslist has a free section. We have gotten a lot of wood piles and such, those wood piles have built the goat house and two play houses. We look at our bills monthly. We look at our spending daily. We set small goals. Can we build the savings to this or that? I look at our grocery list and ask do we really need this or that.

It's hard, life is hard. And I know I"m being tested daily. And I hope I am passing those tests. Ethan is not doing great right now. School is starting soon and I will be on the road daily. I will now have three in school. Scary. Right now as we are going more green and less toxins I am making snack bags and napkins for school.

Life with Autism is hard. Really, really, really hard. You find family leaves you. You don't get the support you thought you would get. There are days I would give anything for a break. But breaks don't come. There are nights I go to bed crying because of the stress. You hope you are doing right by Ethan. Can he grow to have an everyday job, can he be on his own, can he be OK with life? I find I get much more support from friends. Friends who are in the same boat. It's tiring.

So our newest goals is to live on much, much, much less then we are now.

Pay down and pay off the house sooner then later.

Build up a savings.

Go more greener, less toxins.

Try to slow down a bit more in life. The kids are only this small for so long!

Zesty Peach BBQ Sauce

This is amazing. I made it last year and we used it all up. We poured it over ribs and would let them crockpot. OMG. I could not wait to make more this year. I doubled this year and tempted to make more.

6 Cups chopped, pitted and pealed peaches
1 Cup finely chopped seeded red bell pepper
1 Cup Onion
3 Tablespoons Garlic
1 1/4 Cup Honey (I have used rice syrup before)
3/4 Cup Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce (Beef Broth)
2 tsp hot pepper flakes
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp salt

1. Prepare canner, jars, and lids.

2. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine peaches, res pepper, onion, garlic, honey, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper flakes, mustard, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened to the consistency of thin commercial barbecue sauce, about 25 minutes.

3. (I normally run it through the food processor for a second, you choose) Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.

4. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water, process for 15 minutes.

Caramelized Onions

I did 6 pints of these before our camping trip. The smell was amazing and I am not a big onion fan.
2 Large Onions
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Dry Red Wine
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Salt/Pepper To Taste

Slice Onions Thinly. Combine Onions and sugar, I use my cast iron dutch oven. Cook, uncovered over Med-Heat for about 25 minutes. They will try golden and start to caramelize.

Stir in everything else. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low and cook about another 15 minutes or so.

Spoon into jars, and bwb for 10 minutes. I found that two onions nearly did 2 pints.

Recipe from Small Batch Preserving.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

So excited!

Well after many years and many fires and tons of saving, we finally did it. We finally went out and bought a stove. The final thing was one of two burners gave out well hubby was cooking. He didn't like that. Hum? What have I been whining about for months, the burner giving out well cooking.

See for nearly two years we have only had two working burners. My stove has caught fire so many times, that I just stopped counting. You know that joke when you hear the smoke alarm, dinner is done?

With all the cooking and canning I do, I really needed a new stove. Really I did. So Tuesday was the day. Lets go up and look at stoves. And we bought one. Our old one was so bad I don't dare put a photo up. So here is the empty cleaned out spot. We took it out last night in waiting for the new one today.

So it's funny we pay for the stove and decide to go and look at fridges, to check out prices for maybe a year or so down the road. See our fridge is really, really small. It's good for one or two people but the five of us. The handles are broken, shelves are broken. You open the door and stuff goes flying out.

Well they had one on clearance there, dirt cheap, in stainless, BIG and they would throw in free delivery? Hum how could we say no. So here is our old fridge.

Here is our new stove. Aint' it pretty?

New fridge, sooooooooooooooo much bigger. Ain't it pretty?

Now who will break it to hubby we need to repaint the kitchen the yellow just doesn't do it anymore? And the counters look terrible next to my new friends?