Tuesday, January 15, 2013

COTM: Allergy Free Black & White Cake

OK so it's not in cupcake form. But there is a story there. See I wanted to go and get a big cupcake pan. But that requires me to go to Joann's and us a coupon. But that would require me putting it into the budget and at the moment that isn't happening. SOOOOOO  I used my 9 inch cake pans, last night I baked two chocolate and two white cakes. I used the Divvies Cookbook, I used their recipes so I won't post them there. Just tell ya this is a great book and a must have. See Amazon had it used for .40 cents. YES you read that right forty cents. Well plus 3.99 shipping. But still a steal. I read the reviews and they were good so I bought it. I have been very happy with it. For the flour I used half Tapioca and half Brown Rice Flour.

Cole LOVES to melt chocolate.

He loves to make frosting.

Apparently watching Frosting is exciting. There are actually three heads in this picture.

Cole spread the frosting.

And added the next layer.

And Frosting and another layer.

Then melted regular chocolate and coconut oil and poured it over the cakes.

Here is the cookbook I used for the cakes.

Got the idea out of the newest Food Network Magazine it's where I got the frosting. I will post below. Although my photo looks nothing like theirs.

Allergy Free Black and White Cake
Cake Recipes from Divvies Bakery Cookbook

Frosting From Food Network's Magazine
Adapted by Marcie Dingerson

8 Ounces of Chocolate
about 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
pinch of salt
about 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
I then added coconut milk until it was spreadable frosting

For the cake topping Just melted chocolate and coconut oil melted and mixed and pour.

This got 6 thumbs up.

Now go and play.

Friday, January 11, 2013

What A Week!

You know that feeling after the bus hits ya and you are laying there going, Well I didn't see that coming?

The Mortgage Challenge has been called off. Why you ask? Well Wednesday I was out doing errands and I go to back up and kept going. I had no brakes. I throw it into gear and parked and restarted the van hoping it was a fluke. NOPE. I had no brakes. So made the choice to go 5 mph and hit Trader Joe's. OK probably not the right word there, I ended up hitting no one. But I figured I would finish getting food in case we are stuck at home for a few days. But well there I called Hubby, to call the car guy to see if he can get us in. I babied that van home, going oh so very slow, with the flashers on. Finally made it home, and hubby was going to take the van over and walk home.

Why walk home? Because we took Hubby's truck over early Wednesday morning. Yep, he now had both of our cars. But he took pity on hubby and drove him home. It's not a long walk. But.

So how were we to pay for this? I was hoping my brakes would last one more month for taxes, and they were doing good, until BOOM. So we used hubby's truck fund. It took all 400 dollars too. Hubby's truck has maybe 2-3 more months and then it will die. After that he said bury it. Car guy took more pity on us and only charged us 100 for hubby's truck. So yeah it was a 500 dollar week.

So we have no cash, nothing. No truck fund, nothing. It was decided and boy I fought hard, but lost. The money that was suppose to go to Mortgage, will now be pulled and put into the truck fund. Hubby will need something this year. And I can't fight it any longer. And I refuse to finance another car. That won't happen again! So until further notice we are building a truck fund.

So this is a nightly thing here. It's been really cold and so our outside cat comes in and sleeps with either Sitka or Hannah.

And just a word to the wiser LABEL YOUR SEEDS AS YOU GO! Enough said there!

Taking The Loaf Out Of The Bread

So are you drooling yet? Are you tired of making gluten free bread? And it falling over and over and over again? Do you have jars and jars and jars of bread crumbs?

It got to the point I just stopped making bread. I was done, no more. Then I had a thought. Take the loaf out of the bread? huh, so after some googling I landed here. Huh, a bread with no starch? No crap? Huh. Well next day Coleson and I did this bread. In 20 minutes I was making sandwiches. My husband who hasn't had a sandwich in years. Had a 6 inch by 6 inch sandwich.

I can not tell you how easy this is to make. How easy it is to bake, cut, and make sandwiches. This bread will not fall apart on you.

After I made sandwiches for all. For dinner I took the left over bread and cut it into squares, covered them with butter, garlic, and salt and warmed them up. The bread never had a chance.

So I'm challenging you to take the loaf out of the bread. And make this amazing recipe.

I used the recipe step for step so I won't be posting it here. But go to her site, recipes are AMAZING. Get her book. I can't wait until I can afford her book.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Money, Money, Money

Money seems to be the vein of my existence these days. Back in the day when we had over 40,000 plus in medical debt and a mortgage and not being able to see the end. Is very, very, very scary. Fast forward a few years.

We are medical debt free and we are on the up swing. I think the upswing came when we found a money person and gave her the only money we had on the planet. Since that day two years ago, we have tripled that money and have a very nice emergency fund going. Come next year with this same person we will be opening an Roth IRA and focusing on our retirement.

Because right now we have NOTHING for retirement and that alone is very scary. We do have a matching 401k through hubby's work and when we got married there was 400 in there. Seriously 400 dollars? Since I have taken over we now have over 30k. Which is a lot of money for us yes. But retirement wise it's nothing.

What scares me more then anything else is my parents. How can you be that old, take out a mortgage on your paid off house, and then loose the house? Where does all that money go? They took out the loan for the motor home they bought. The one they might be living in soon. Very fitting I would say? My mother who has a spending habit just spent and spent and spent. New dining room set, new carpeting in the house, new kitchen. About a year ago they bought a new car. They are not paying their mortgage and they bought a car? They didn't need a new car, there was nothing wrong with their old car, except mom wanted a new car and she gets what she wants.

Right now my parents are in a rental home, because they expected their house to close months ago. The house hasn't closed yet, and now with congress not forwarding the tax break they will need when the bank writes off the loss. My parents will be in line for a tax bill they don't see coming. I have spoken with my mother on this. And she thinks, no the bank will get the tax bill not us. No the bank takes the hit, writes off the interest and the IRS taxes you for the extra income. She doesn't get it. Since I'm their daughter they won't listen to me. But they will sure be calling and whining when that bill hits and they have lost everything. Because they have no money. The second a pay check drops my mother pulls out the money and is spending it.

See for Christmas, my sister and I begged her to not go over board, first she can't afford it and second the kids do not need it. Third our house is small I don't have room for all this crap. We asked her to limit her gifts to 3 per child. Did she? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO As she was bringing in the car load of gifts I stopped counting at 30. Just in shock and disappear. Its money she didn't need to spend on "stuff" that will be going to goodwill. I was in tears when she left because she just doesn't listen and I'm tired of it. Did I tell ya I was almost arrested last year? Trying to return two cart loads of "stuff" to WalMart? If finally dawned on them, some of the stuff was too big for me to walk out with. With that money we got a heater which was needed since ours has died and we had no heat in the house. And the kids got one toy each. One toy, they didn't need 20 each, they need one.

My mother was raised with no money, her mother worked, and worked, and worked and they still had nothing. Now that my mother has money yeah I can see her spending and spending and spending. No one ever taught her about money. So of course we as kids were not taught about money. And when you have 40k plus in medical sitting on your dining room table, it shocks you into reality. Luckily I got smart and got a job and worked my butt off. I then found Suze Orman and read, and found Dave Ramsey and read. (found the books at goodwill CHEAP (NEVER pay full price)) We never had credit card debt, we never had bills (except medical ) totally out of control. We started budgeting and being smart about money. Everyone of my paychecks went to paying off medical. We were sued 7 times because the debt got too high at some collections agencies. Often times the day I got paid is the day we were served. I can't tell ya how many times we got money and just picked up a bill and called and paid, next bill called and paid. We kept track and when the money was gone it was gone and we waited for another check to come in. I remember the last check and paying off the last bill and having enough left over for a new stove well and a fridge on clearance. The stove had died (yes too many fires) and the fridge was on it's last legs. But this whole time we had been living off hubby's paycheck. So when the kids begged me to quit and stay home and hang up the phone, math wise it was an easy decision.

We are teaching our kids about the value of a dollar. They have accounts open with our money person. And they have goals and they are reaching their goals. Allowance is split between spending and saving. Tucker is a saver and has about 150 more then his brothers. And math wise if the boys got their total up to about 5,000-10,000 and then left it for 60 years they will have a very nice retirement.

Every Monday we do a money class here. They get their allowance and they decide how to split the money, the split is something a parent must approve. They look at how much money their account has this week. We answer any money questions they have. We just talk as a family. They know all about mortgage and why we are cutting our budget back this year and focusing on paying down the mortgage. Because really we want to be 100% debt free. What a joy in life that would be to be 100% debt free.

We are working towards that goal. This year "if" or "when" we can file taxes that money will be used to pay off the van. We had to take out a loan at the beginning of last year, as in laws were in and out of the hospital and such and asking for some unreal demands on us. But when they are both in the hospital how can you say no? They were asking us to drive to their house daily (30 minutes each way) and then drop their mail and papers at the hospital (another 20 minute drive) It was a lot of gas and gas costs money, money we didn't have. We took out a loan for gas to get use through. In laws are back on their feet and really I don't think of the loan because of the way it's sent up. They take x amount out of the weekly paycheck. It will be paid off down the road, but I'm in no hurry for it.

Any extra money we find we are putting it towards the mortgage. With work messing up Russell's first paycheck of the year we are all ready off track money wise. But we will get there. Even if we don't make our money mortgage goals, at least we have made a dent. Our first goal is to get it down enough to remove PMI, we can't math wise do that this year. But we can get close.

So our goals this year, is to pay off the van, reduce the mortgage, build up a nice emergency fund, and open a Roth IRA and start funding it. Keep working on the loan and have a little cash on hand. We also have a garden to work on. We decided to take 5-10 dollars of the food money every week and hit home depot. Figuring if we can start now, it won't hurt us in the spring when we can't find the money. I have a bed to redo, a swing to finish, an herb garden to put in.

The kids on Monday must declare their money goals for the year. And we will spend the year working towards those. I want them to see the value of a dollar, I don't want them to buy "stuff" just because you have money. I want them to start thinking, I could buy this for 2 dollars or put it into savings and have it be worth 816 dollars in 30 years. Is this two dollar toy worth wasting 816 dollars later?

I do see how very easy it is when you have money, to buy stuff. People are led to believe they need stuff. Well you can't take the stuff with you when you go? You clutter up your lives, you spend time moving and cleaning your stuff. It's been hard here. Because we never have money, so we get 5 dollars oh boy. But I have learned to put the money aside and not touch it for 2-3 days. After that it's like we really need to save that and have it for the future. Like when I have extra money in the checking account. It's been hard, but I'm training myself to send it to Mortgage. I know down the road I will be really proud of myself, but right now it hurts.

We have cut back here a LOT. As we will be loosing 80 dollars a week. It hurts when you make so very little as it is. But instead of cutting every single thing, we have decided to save our sanity and allow us to have one thing left each. Hubby will still be able to buy comic books, and I will be allowed to hit goodwill and hit the dollar sales. Tell ya when you can get a sheet for a dollar. That is a ton of fabric. You can't buy that at Joann's. But this is as money allows, if we have 2 cents in the bank we are not buying a thing.

To me it's sad that Congress doesn't see we need that money. That is 80 dollars a month that won't be going out and about. We cut back garbage, we removed a car from insurance, no netflix, reducing our food budget. But.

Thanks to my mother, I rarely buy anything extra. Because in the end its "stuff" and "stuff" you don't need. Even when I really need something I keep putting it off. I've done a lot of de-cluttering around here. Many trips to goodwill to purge. Trying to get down to bare bones here of things you really need, verses "stuff" you don't. I think with that mind set we have been able to see an extra 10-20 in the bank at the end of every week. It's sent to Mortgage and we start the week again. I keep track of every penny and keep trying to find ways to cut things back.

Last night after a loooooooooooooooong talk with hubby it was decided that he is actually very happy in his position. And has decided not to try and move up the ladder. I have to be OK with that because at least he has a full time job. No it doesn't pay enough, but he is working. He doesn't really answer to anyone and he likes that. He has a boss now that when hubby says something the boss comes in the next day and backs him up. So like if hubby has a fight with a customer, the customer will often call the next morning to talk to the manager. Well...the manager goes off what hubby says and stands up for him. He really likes that. With hubby moving up the ladder we will be seeing him gone for days, right now he works nights, often spends the days with the kids and helping me home school. And leaves about 2pm. With him moving up the ladder he will be leaving early, getting home late and often only seeing the kids for an hour or two before bed time. There is also the travel that isn't covered by work. He won't be at his store, he will have to drive further to other stores. So that is a longer drive time to get to work and home, not to mention the gas it will take. So if hubby is fine in his position then I have to be fine. But we have to be fine living off of what he makes.

Which if we don't get hit with anything major we should be OK? We are simple, we don't need "stuff".

I have updated the debt load on the side bar of the page. Knowing where we are money wise, I'm no longer really stressed about money. But it allows me to be excited about getting into the garden. I so can't wait for spring...

I was out in the green house today cleaning that out. So I'm now ready to go out there. Baby steps as we have to dodge rain showers.

So I have written a book, I will go. But be smart about your money, you work hard for it. You don't need debt, you don't need "stuff" You need to be OK with you. In a few hours my son and I will be watching the Suze Orman show. It's something we watch together, we are both math minds and love it. When he is old enough he will be reading my Dave and Suze books. He will be nothing like his grandmother.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Is It Spring Yet?

So blogger is acting up, had trouble uploading photos and they are really out of order.

So anywho...Is it spring yet? Today was soooooooooooo nice I dragged myself outside and couldn't drag myself in. I have been missing my garden.

So got through Christmas. I don't know how? My in laws stuck to their word and only bought the boys one gift each. But Cole got three because price wise it was equal. Christmas morning we get up to get going to my parents and there was SNOW. 2 plus inches, yeah we are not going anywhere. We are down to one car and if it slides we are up a creek.

So my mother decides to come down the next day. Her car was PACKED I stopped counting at 30 plus gifts. Lordy, what is it with her and having to buy crap, crap and more crap. I give up. My mother will never listen I just don't exist in her world. After she left kids and us had a talk about all that crap and buying stuff. And wasting money. Lord help me.

So well she was here she asked if I would take her dogs well they are gone. Sure...But we are going to ask someone at the camp to watch them first. So Sunday we all head done to Goodwill and my phone starts to go off and texting and such. I have no minutes so I can't answer them. I get home to find out my parents were here, but since we were not home they dropped the dogs off at my sisters house. So I had to race over to my sisters to get these dogs.

So by now I'm Pissed because where is the respect? Where was that call the day before saying we will be down and when? So for New Year's Eve I had 5 dogs, 3 cats, 3 kids, 1 blind bunny, and 2 1/2 inches of new snow.

The boys were out all day Monday playing in the snow. I could not get them in. Oh well.

I'm working on a new quilt. More later.

Now...We were going to start a Mortgage Challenge this past week. Except if one makes plans God laughs right? You see the lovely Congress/House decided it would be fun to fall off a cliff and mess with our paychecks. We lost a lot of money this week as hubby's work messed up his paycheck. On top of that we don't know if we will see the money back? Will they fix next weeks check? On top of that the Payroll Tax hit us hard and I wasn't expecting. We don't know if we are taking an 80 dollar hit or 240 hit yet. We sat down this week and tired to find 80 dollars. We found 50. When you make this little and it takes nearly 3 paychecks to pay your mortgage there isn't much left to cut. If we are taking a 240 hit we are in some serious trouble. Cross that bridge later.

So right now we are waiting and seeing. If there is any extra money it's going towards the van as we don't know when we can file taxes. So when life irons out a bit money wise we will re-work the numbers for the mortgage challenge and get back on it.

The garden I'm sooooooooooo missing the garden. The next nice day we will be out working in the new herb area. But I plan on trying to spend about 5 dollars a week and getting bricks, and manure now. So come spring we are ready to rock this thing out and don't have to wonder where will we find the money. This week I was able to squeeze ten from the budget. So Sunday I will go and get 8 bricks. Very exciting. Way too much to do and not enough time.