Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our Busy Day!

Today was a busy, successful day for us.  I bought a Groupon for a sushi place down by Todd's parents house, and we decided to go use it today.  We planned our whole day around this sushi place.

We woke up early, had breakfast at home, and then hit the road by 8:15.  By 9, we were at Walmart to pick up new socks for Todd.  His are all holey and worn out.  It's been over a year since we got him new socks.  We used the balance left on a gift card and then paid $9 and some odd change out of pocket.  Todd now has 14 new pairs of socks and puppy has flea medication for 3 months. 

Then, we went to Gordon Food Service.  I have wanted to make a recipe from another blog of sesame chicken.  Well, we had no sesame seeds!  Our local store didnt have any and neither did Aldi's.  Gordon Food Service has 19 oz. for $7.98.  I was not willing to spend that much on sesame seeds.  So we went on our way.

The next stop was to see my old house in Akron.  It is all beat up and it breaks my heart.  I put my blood, sweat and tears into that house.  There was an Asian market around the corner from my Akron house...and it didnt open until 10.  DOH! It was 9:30.  So we went to our favorte thrift store in Akron.  I ended up coming home with 4 new shirts for work and a new pair of brown dress shoes.  All for $7.75! 

Todd came home with 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of jean shorts and 7 t-shirts.  Some of his t-shirts were $0.75.  The one pair of jeans was $0.90!  His was more expensive at $20.98 cents after all was said and done.  And we picked up a $2 wine rack.  We make so much wine, it will definitely go to good use!


My new clothes (and shoes)


Todd's new clothes

Todd's Favorite New Shirt (Mr. Happy Homeowner)
He said it is EXACTLY how he feels about our house!!

Afterwards, we went to Marcs to look for sesame seeds.  Low and behold, they had 11 oz. bottles for $0.98!  We bought 2!!! I was so excited and so glad I didnt let Todd talk me into buying the ones from GFS.

Then, off to my dad's house we went.  We spent about an hour and a half there seeing my dad, his wife, and Natlie.  Oh how I love that little girl.

After that, we went to Todd's parents house and visited for a couple of hours.
Target, the Record Exchange, a couple other stores and then we went to sushi.

Busy! Busy! Busy! 
But we had a great day.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Strawberries

The strawberries came earlier this week; however, the forecast called for snow.  Instead of planting them outside, we decided to plant them in pots and put them under a grow light here in the house.  I was really trying to avoid that, but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do.  Within a few days, they started popping up out of the soil with their green leaves.  I love watching plants grow. 

Hopefully within the next 3-4 weeks, it will stay warm enough outside to plant them.  But for now, their roots are getting stronger and getting all the nutrients it needs to grow and be healthy.  I refuse to let these ones die. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

If We Won the Lottery...

I was watching something on TV the other day about people who won the lottery.  I dont have the statistics in front of me, but I've read that a large amount of lottery winners go broke or bankrupt within 5 years of winning their millions.  While watching this program, I can see why! 

This got Todd and I to talking about what we'd do if we won the lottery.

One group of people on the program (I think there were 7 people) won $315,000,000 in the California lottery.  After taxes, each of them took home over $20M.  I calculated that if we made just 2% interest on that money(very modest, I know), we'd make $400,000/year!  Of course, it would be less than that after taxes each year.  Lets assume $150,000/year ($12,500/month!)

I can tell you right now, we would not have a 9 to 5.  We would quit our jobs.  I worry about health insurance, but I would think we could easily be self-insured in this situation, dont you?  If nothing else, we'd have a high-deductible insurance plan.

In this situation, Todd and I both agreed that we would move out of our house.  We would buy land.  I found some on landandfarm.com that I think would be perfect. Todd and I love the woods, we love mountains, and we love log cabins.  We would buy something like this and build a cabin on it.  We both agreed we would want something simple. Maybe the size we have now and hopefully add a few kids to the mix.  No one waiting on us hand and foot (though I mentioned wanting a cleaning person once a week).  We can mow our own property.  We can cut our own trees.  I can do my own gardening.

Yes, I would have a garden on this property.  A vegetable garden, an orchard, grape vines, raspberries, blueberries and anything else I could possibly want.  I would fence it in, though, so no deer could get in. The garden would be extensive and provide for everything we could possibly want and need throughout the year with plenty to give to local food banks.  If I didnt have a job, do you know how much time I'd have for cultivating a garden?  ALOT!

I would also want a milk cow, chickens, and mabe even a pot bellied pigger or two. 
I would also want Todd to have a nice "work" truck to go along with his Rondo. 

As for me, I just want a family and the land to be as self-sufficient as possible.  We arent ones for bling.  There would be no $1.5M dollar homes, even with this amount of money (we feel that would be a waste.)  I can assure you my family would get money every year and we would support causes we believe in.  Oh, and we would take one heckofa vacation as a family! 

NOW...the next scenario was a couple who won $8,000,000 in the lottery and took the payout of $2.5M after taxes.  This changes things quite a bit for us.  Assuming 4% interest on our money, we would get $100,000/year.  Could we live on that? Absolutely!  Would we buy that property for $200,000 in WV and build a house on it?  No. 

We like security.  Would we live in the house we own now?  Maybe for a few years (while accumulating wealth.) I could see us living in our home, and Todd having time to fix the rest of the house up.  Would we work?  Yes...but not in our current positions.  We would find jobs we truly enjoy and not work for the money, but for the fulfillment. Even if that means part-time work. Would we get a house out in the woods with a little more land?  Eventually once we saved up enough cash to not take on any debt and not hurt our future investments.

The people who won the $8,000,000, they moved and bought a $350,000 house on 14 acres.  They then bought a house for their son, costing over $100,000.  They bought a $40,000 vehicle for their son, a $20,000 vehicle for their daughter-in-law, a $160,000 big rig for themselves, many many animals, a $14,000 lawn mower, and some big machinery.  Oh, and then when the IRS said they owed $350,000 more in taxes, they couldnt pay it.  Gee.  I wonder why.

To me, a windfall of $2.5M would pretty much make us set for life.  I dont see our habits changing much.  We are pretty set in our ways and pretty darn frugal.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chicks - Week 3

Other than getting bigger by the day, there has been no change in the chicks this week.  They were outside for the first time on Thursday.  They didnt quite know what to do with themselves at first, and then right to scratching and pecking the ground.  They got the hang of it in no time.

I had my first misfortune this weekend.  I was pooped on by Fluff.  I was not a happy camper, but she is still my current favorite.  She is the one in the video listed below.

**BREAKING NEWS: Todd taught the chicks how to drink from a rabbit's water bottle!!  This will be ALOT less messy and we will have to refill their water ALOT less!  YAY! Go super-Todd!
Here are a few videos for your viewing pleasure.



video
Lana pouting while I play with the chicks


Todd holding Fluffanutter

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring is Here!

Spring is here, and the weather is proving it a few days a week, with temps above 45 or 50 at least one day a week!  That may sound cold to some, but it is GREAT considering what we've been dealing with here in Ohio. 

I saw this adorable picture and I had to share it.



  How cute is this?!? This is exactly how I feel lately.  I am always in Todd's mud-boots taking Lana out to go potty or working in the garden.  I am still waiting for my strawberries to arrive so they can be planted, but I have the row in the garden anxiuosly awaiting them.  The soil has been turned, ashes added along with some eggshells and coffee grounds.  Hopefully they will come when it is supposed to be 60 this week, so I can plant them and then cover them with leaves to keep the soil warm.

OH! And guess what?!? I DIDNT kill all of my potted strawberries.  They were covered with leaves over the winter, and I see green!  So they will be replanted with the others when they come in.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Realizations

This weekend, Todd worked his 12 hour shift on Saturday and Sunday, which left my all by my lonesome.  While spending some nice, quiet time to myself, I made several realizations.  They include:

  • When the TV & Internet are not turned on, the day goes by slower (a good thing!)
  • When the day goes by slower, I get more work done
  • It is not difficult to pick up the house in 5 minute spurts
  • When the house is picked up, I feel a great sense of accomplishment
  • There really is no need to procrastinate! Just do it NOW!
  • When the house is picked up, there is more time for play (outside in the garden & with puppy)
  • When the house is picked up, I do not feel guilty for relaxing with a good book and a cup 'o coffee (I will admit, for several hours)!
  • When the house is in order, I am much more content and ENJOY my surroundings and all we have
  • When the house is in order, I have more time to do chores that Todd usually does but has not gotten to due to working his 12 hour shifts and being sick
  • I am not rushing around to do things last minute, like dinner on the table.  I was ready to put everything ont he table 5 minutes before Todd turned into the driveway (instead of rushing around last minute like a chicken with my head cut off:  sorry chicks.)
  • I dont get as tired - no need for a nap, even though I've done more activity than I have all week! It's amazing what sitting in front of the boob tube does to me!  Movie marathons are NOT my friend.  They make me LAZY (and eat out of boredom, which makes me tired)!
  • Hubbies are happier when they get home and see that there is nothing to be done but spend time with their loved one.
All in all, it was a great weekend with me and the critters for most of it, but it was nice to get alot of things done. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book Review: Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs

When I received Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs in the mail, I couldnt believe it's size: over 400 pages!  The first few chapters were pretty tough for me to get into due to the dialect used between characters; however, it got easier to read once encompassed in the story.

Mine is the Night is a novel about two widows; a mother-in-law (Marjory) and daughter-in-law (Elisabeth), that travel to the place where their son (and husband) were born and called home at one time.  Even though their recent arrival did not allow them to be the same status as they left.

The book, based in the 1700's speaks a tale of three women in Scotland, the Kerrs, and their journey of redemption for the decision they made to support their husband and son.  Once Lady Marjory Kerr, a woman of wealth and abundance, housed many servants and staff at the manor she kept with her husband.  When her husband and two sons went to war (against King George,) they were stripped of their money and possessions.

Within Mine is the Night, there are several stories that the reader can get engrossed within.  Marjory and Elisabeth Kerr, Marjory’s cousin, Anne Kerr, a handsome, wealthy new occupant to a mansion, Lord Jack Buchanan, a tailor and his son, dragoons and the like.  The book was very detailed, and made me feel I was right there watching everything take place.

Even though the book was 400 pages, it never felt dull or drawn out.  The author, Liz Curtis Higgs, put so much thought into the characters, the scenery, and the language used in the novel.  It was a great book that I could put down only to eat, sleep and take care of the house.


Disclosure:
I received this book free from WaterBrookMultnomah Publishers as part of their Blogging for Books program.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Little Things


It is hard to believe that Squiggy has been gone for 3 weeks.  Sometimes, I wonder if he was ever here.  We have so many great memories, but it seems like he’s been gone for so long.

But then there are daily things that I do that remind me of him.  For instance, I was cutting an apple at work the other day for a snack.  Squiggy loved apple cores.  I would bring them home for him every day.

When we walk into the house, Squiggy’s ashes are there on the half-wall we have between the Living Room and Kitchen area.  The crematory gave us a glass pig that we have on top of the box that Squiggy’s ashes came in.  Out of habbit, I pet the glass pig on the head and touch the tail hair that they saved for us.  I am so thankful they saved that for us. 

I am surprised at how emotional Todd still gets about Squiggy.  He has a hard time talking about the pig-man without getting teary eyed.  I am also surprised how little emotion I’ve had at his loss.  I cried for a couple of days, and then I get tears at times thinking about him (like right now,) but surprisingly, I have taken his death pretty well.  He WAS my baby boy, and there will be no other animal like him.  But I think that I cried enough (bawled is more like it) while he was sick for three weeks to prepare me for his death when Todd was trying to keep it together.

It is hard to call our homestead a “mini-farm” any longer without Squiggy.  It’s just not the same without him.  We have no plans for another porker. 

Debt Payments

It is so awesome to see our LAST DEBT dwindle every month. Well, OK, it has only been a month and a half, but with large chunks being paid toward the American Express, it is great to log onto their website and see the balance decrease!  We completely missed seeing the $6,000 mark, and are now down to the $5,000 mark, and I am A-OK with that!

In February, we were expecting to pay $2,000 toward Todd’s American Express; however, with two farm-animal home vet visits, one piggy cremation, and a lot of stress, we were only able to put $1500 toward the debt.  Oh, and we paid for our lodging on a much-needed vacation in May. 

Yes, we could have done without the vacation, but I promised Todd that we would go away when Squiggy got better.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and Todd worked so hard for 3 weeks moving an immobile pig around, feeding him through a turkey baster, cleaning him up after he went potty, keeping him warm, taking his temperature and giving him shots.  Todd definitely deserves a break.

It would be great if we could get into the mid $4,000’s by the end of March, but I’m not holding my breath.  I know that life happens.  The bills will be paid, a chicken coop will be built, a puppy and kittens will be loved, and hubby and I will be going on a couple of dates.  If, after all of that, there isn’t $2,000 left over to pay toward debts at the end of the month, sobeit.