Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 Goals

Well since I'm on the blog ranting and raving I should do this post as well.

I'm not one for setting New Year Goals. But I'm looking at 2012 as a new start. 2011 was pretty brutal to us. Not so much as we trying hard to stay on our feet and some very hard decisions were made. Glad they were made and glad we stuck to our guns, but things are tough.

So for 2012 we are hoping to stay on our feet. That things become easier. We have a family reunion coming up we need to save for. My biggest goal of the year will hit coming right out of the box. Pay off the van. We owe 4297. something. We will be doing our tax return in about 2-3 weeks give or take some time (I lack time) After we pay the school, what ever is left is going to pay off the van in hopes it's enough. If it's not enough we will be tighten our belts even more and paying off the van. Getting rid of this monthly payment will help our bottom line. It's seriously killing us.

I'm hoping to play catch up on some past dues. The TV, Phone and Energy are running about a month beyond. I'm hoping to play catch up there this year. So that would get rid of late payments I pay every month.

Putting in the new garden, we will be doubling if not tripling our space. I am getting at least 5 new fruit trees and maybe some nut trees. Our front yard is getting a bit of a make over as two beds will be removed, too shady to grow anything. I planted them full of beets and nothing grow. How depressing is that? But there is so much to do. From building a fence, to building beds 10-20 new beds. 8-10 feet by 4 feet. Plus lots of smaller beds to hold herbs. I'm thinking of adding in more grapes. Maybe some new blueberry bushes. We are hoping that 75-80% of our food will come from the garden. In hopes we just have to buy flour and meat. That would help our budget a lot.

With that there will be much more canning, drying and freezing. Oh joy.

That and just trying to stay away from the bank, hoping to save a few pennies this year. I was thinking I could just start burying coffee cans in the back yard, but that won't work. We have three dogs that would dig them up. The goats would play kick the can so that won't work either. IDK. We have some financial goals to meet this year. It would be nice to make them. But I don't have high hopes, I figure if we can stay on our feet and be OK, then we will be OK. Worry about saving another day. Be grateful hubby has a job. Be grateful we are slowly saving for retirement now. Slowly it's not a lot, but it's something verses nothing now.

We are hoping we will be able to save to expand out the house, I don't think it should be a 2012 goal. But it's on our radar and if we are able to set aside some money to do so. Like when we have 500 saved call the contractor and get plans made for expanding. When we can afford the permits go and get permits. As we can afford things, get things done. It will be slow, but we are doing cash only. On top of trying to pay down the Mortgage in hopes one day sooner then later to be Mortgage free. Once we are Mortgage free that will free up money to save for retirement. Because right now we can retire when we are 97 years old.

Hoping to continue cupcake of the month. Really hoping to expand out my baking some. I love baking allergy free, it really takes some thinking some days. But yeah it can be fun. I love how my items are gum free. I love how I have been able to stick to my guns and keep the kids safe from food allergies, I don't understand why some people don't understand. My child is allergic it means he really can't eat this. My mother called me the other day, can the boys have corn syrup. Seriously? I'm grateful no new allergies have popped up. I love how I do all the baking for the boys lunches. I don't buy anything from the store for their lunches. It's all hand made. Yes, a lot of work but in the end you save a lot of money and for me that is worth it. I know what is in my kid's food and what is not in the food.

Just hoping to keep up with life. I have fallen behind so many times this year. There are days I'm on my feet until I fall into bed around midnight or later, and then back up at the crack of dawn to do it all again. Someday's I wonder if I should scrap everything and home school the kids. But they love their school so much and honestly I need to get out of the house. So I just hope I can keep up.



So we went through check fraud back in July. The people took everything, from our Mortgage payment that was set to go through the next day or our food budget money for the month. The bank finally did give us our money back, and we were able to pull out the money and pay the Mortgage in person as not to take a ding on our credit report. Thank God!

At the same time we opened a new account and closed down the old. New checks were ordered, but you know what as of today I have not written another check. We went to an all cash only system. We have been on top of our money knowing where every penny goes. So back when we opened our new account we asked for the overdraft protection to be taken off. Because honestly if you have gone through check fraud it is so very scary and for that to happen again would probably kill us. So we sat right there and the lady typed into her computer and said OK it's off. Anything else.


Well this morning I went to check our bank account, I know there is only 3 dollars in there, I know this. Well except it showed a negative 34 dollars? WHAT? So me being beyond livid Hubby called the bank and said we had this taken off in July, you were not to pay anything that we didn't have money for? Why didn't the bank reject it? Well because you have overdraft protection on your account. So we paid it and feed you.



All this loud enough for the person to hear on the phone. Boy can I rant when I want to rant. The lady again said it was the law, Hubby said no it's not, we are being lied too. Please reverse the fee, we will not be paying that fee for a mistake you made and in the mean time we will be looking for a new bank.

So Hubby got off the phone and called around. NO it is NOT the law you do not have to have overdraft protection on your account. BUT if you don't have enough money in your account and we have to turn back a payment we charge you a 30 dollar fee. ARG!

NOW 4 years ago, we were in the land of fees, it's how we lived, at one time having 40k of medical bills on our dining room table and doing everything we could to stay afloat. So yes we used that overdraft protection and was feed 30 dollars each time we used it. It killed us but at times it's how we made do. Two years ago we stopped using the over draft protection and were able to stand on our feet. Which was nice, at times only having a few cents in the bank, but they were our few cents. I do NOT want to know how much over the years I have paid in bank fees!

Fast forward to July and we were hit with check fraud, because we had overdraft protection the bank allowed a 2,000 check to clear our account no questions asked. And then feed us on top of things! Because we didn't have 2,000 in the bank. So when we changed accounts we asked for it to be taken off. But we were lied to. I think the biggest issue for me is just the fact we were lied too, someone sat right there and looked me in the face and lied to me.

So hubby called a few banks/credit unions, but this is the norm, no you don't HAVE to have overdraft protection. BUT we will fee you if we have to turn back a payment.

So honestly what is the point of changing banks then?

So we have been cash only since July, we would go to the bank every Friday and get out the cash we need and that would be it. We have never had a debt card (this actually shocked those banks we called), we don't have credit cards, (well wait I do have a pre-pay credit card). So why not take it to the next step and see if we can LIVE without a bank?


What is stopping us from cashing the work check at work? What is stopping us from going over to the Mortgage bank and paying in person? What is stopping us from going down to the energy company and paying in person? Seriously. Can we live without a bank? So for now we will keep our account open, I will change hubby's pay checks to no longer go into the bank. We will pick them up in person and cash them at work. We will take this day by day and see if we can live without a bank. This might actually be a fun challenge for 2012. The year without the bank!

I will NOT be feed by bank fees in 2012. I will NOT be lied too by banks, I will NOT be told something is the law or we HAVE to do it. I honestly won't be told what to do. I'm too dang old to be told what to do!

So that is my BIG Rant for the day. I'm so fed up with Banks, and fees, the fees just kill ya. Can someone explain to me how being feed 30 dollars per transaction helps you in this game of life? It doesn't it digs you deeper and deeper into the hole. They should just hand you a shovel. Well I'm putting the shovel away. I'm Done.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

COTM: Gluten Free Peppermint & Red Velvet Cake

Oh do I have a pretty one for you this month. I tired to do this before Christmas, but a fight with Directv and I totally forgot to add some of the ingredients. I didn't have another chance to make another batch until yesterday. And OH boy did they turn out this time.

So the recipe is very easy You take my Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Recipe before you add in the cocoa and beet powder, you separate the batter. Half stays white and the other half you add a bit of cocoa and some beet powder until you get the color you want. Don't forget to add in a dash of peppermint extract into both batters. In the cupcake pans you put some white, top off with some red, and top that off with some white. I baked these at 350 for 20 minutes. If I had to do again, I would make this recipe twice. In one mixer I would leave white, the other mixer I would do the red. I only got about 10 cupcakes going this way and I didn't separate the batter well, so I had more red.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


So adore this photo of Ethan. Last Wednesday I finally got my act together at the last second and made three hats for a skit they were putting on at school. (On Thursday) Yep I made this hat. Which of course I will be getting use out of as my in laws just had their 50th anniversary party this past weekend. Ethan wore the hat. I didn't make them for nothing now. Notice no Tucker? Tucker had a massive nose bleed right before the skit was to start. Now see a mother holding a nose, taking photos and taking a white shirt off Tucker because if he gets blood on it I'm dead! At the end of the skit, still holding the nose, one child half naked and photos were taken. I saved the White shirt!

So last Wednesday I started to get sick, by Friday I could not get out of bed sick. Saturday and Sunday were a blur. Because Tucker and I were sick. Saturday night Cole fell sick. Sunday night guess who else fell sick? My oldest, my helper. This isn't just any sick, this is very high fever, not eating, I can't get out of bed sick. We are still in recovery mode. As it was very brutal. Cole still has not over come the fever. But lots of napping going on here, and not much else. Can someone explain how the hubby didn't get sick?

Friday night as I put the kids to bed (about the only thing I did that night) I went to veg out on the couch and watch TV. Well TV was not to be, as our TV receiver decided right then and there it was time to give up the ghost. Hubby called Saturday and they put a new receiver in the mail. Received it Tuesday night and Hubby called today, and called and called. Three different people, including a manager and they won't hook it up for us. We are beyond dumbfounded at this point? So as of right now we are still without TV. No huge deal for me, as it is only turned on when the kids go to bed. But as energy is slowly coming back, I have so much to do. But at this moment I will tell ya Directv has crappy customer service. So not happy spending two hours on the phone, took about 20 minutes just to find us in the computer? After being with them for over 10 years, might be time to leave them? I told hubby one more day if they don't hook us up tomorrow when you call, I'm sending everything back and we are done! (I don't think hubby can live without TV) (someone tell him he may have too)

So because I and two kids were sick we missed out on my in laws anniversary party. Honestly I'm not a party person. But apparently Ethan had a blast showing off his new hat.

Cupcake of the month is coming. It's a great one, but it didn't come out the way I wanted it today, I kinda missed a few steps. Note don't curse out Directv and make cupcakes at the same time. The cupcakes are nummy, but didn't come out the way I wanted. So hopefully tomorrow, would LOVE to post before Christmas. 

Christmas, I'm so not ready. Everything has been bought, but not wrapped. I finished up everything last week, so there would be no mad dash going to the store for this or that. Which is good now that we've been so sick. Many will not receive Christmas cards. As my list is on a computer, the computer is in a cabinet, behind the couch, the couch has jars under it. When one is sick they are too week to do diddle squat so the computer will stay put and I have to let things go.

Christmas...I'm more freaking out about after Christmas. There is mountain of work to be done after Christmas. Need to make plans on expanding the garden and getting beds in and ready for spring. I have to re-wrap the green house. It's so crazy how time is just flying by these days. Barely a time to breath these days. To me it's amazing how the babies are just growing.

Until later...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Photo Time

I feel like I'm soooooooooooooo far behind in life right now. It couldn't be the 12 Angel Costumes I just got done making for their Christmas Play could it be?

So decided this was the morning we were going to do the darn Christmas photo...I got the kids dressed, took them out into the cold and said one good shot and we will go in! I got a few good shots, but all in less then 5 minutes, they seem to be pros at this (or is it the cold?)

I then came in and was on and they have a great Christmas card price going on right now. So I cheated, I am letting them do our Christmas cards, in turn saving me from running all over town because only one store carries the right envelope I need, and I can never remember the store! I will run out of Card stock, I won't ever really decide on a card until 2 days before Christmas. Yes, I have been known to mail out Christmas cards on Christmas Eve!

So I pick them up Friday then I will go to the post office and mail them. I only bought a few, so in case you don't receive one, the first photo is my Christmas card, the second photo is just too cute.