Sunday, December 30, 2012

Closing Down 2012

I have to say I'm glad to see this year end.

The year of unemployment.

The year our "free" medical insurance became too expensive to use. Leaving us high and dry.

The year of no dental insurance.

The year we used up what we had put away for retirement.

The year no contractors were hiring Hubs specialty because of trillions in cuts and more on the horizon.

The year I learned to hate the Dem and Rep parties equally.

The year I actually refused to respect the President just for being the President.

The year the words Hope and Change became dirty and ugly.

The last month of 2012 wasn't so bad.

It saw a paycheck for the first time in forever.

It saw all of my side of the family together for Christmas. We haven't all been together since my dad was dying.  I hadn't seen my sister in 4 years.

It gave us a look at what our non-government health care is going to be. Assuming all goes well.

And hey - someone else will be paying our share of the taxes this year. Enjoy.

2013 has the potential to be a good year. And I'm holding on to that.

A job.

Health and dental insurance.

A new home.

A new community.

Getting settled with the intent on staying put forever. (I've seen lots of intent that didn't work out that way - but I'm happy with the thought that this could be the last move.)

A chance to dig out from under the debt we have now accumulated.

So here's to hoping that 2013 posts will be much better than my 2012 posts!

A girl can dream!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Pinterest Recipe Or Pinterest Project #18

Where we are staying is pretty far from most shopping and other things. We are inbetween Hot Springs and Little Rock. Any trip to either town is pretty much an all day affair since you don't make the trip very often with the price of gas.

Crockpot meals are perfect for those days. I did bring my family cookbook with me and had my cookbook software....which all of a sudden no longer works, so I am short on crockpot recipes.

Sounds like the perfect Pinterest project 18 right? I dug up a crockpot recipe from my recipe board to try. So here you have it:

Slow Cooker Green Chicken Chili with Kale

This pin came from a blog called Nourishing Days.  I have linked to the pages so you can go read the original post.

Slow Cooker Green Chicken Chili with Kale

2 cups dried great northern beans, soaked for 24 hours in plenty of water
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups chicken stock
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, depending on your taste
2 (4.5 oz) cans green chilis, chopped
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 bunch of kale, leaves stripped from the stalks and chopped
sea salt to taste
creme fraiche or sour cream for serving
Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Place beans in slow cooker (at least 4 1/2 quart size). Add onions, garlic, a good pinch of salt, cumin, cayenne and chicken stock to beans. Simmer the beans with this mixture in the slow cooker for 5 hours, or until tender.
Mix in the green chilis and chicken and simmer for another 2 hours. Thirty minutes before serving stir in the chopped kale. Taste for seasoning and adjust flavors with sea salt if needed (this will depend on whether or not your stock was salted).
Garnishes can include dollops of sour cream, sliced scallions and cilantro.

I really liked this recipe...but my kids were not thrilled. But if you know my kids this wouldn't surprise you. LOL. 
So if you are looking for a recipe to use your green chile this might appeal to you. I think I would use more kale next time as I liked the texture and extra green flavor it gave.
Now go check out Nourishing Days as its a great blog with great recipes.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

That's What You Do At Grandma's

Being homeless has a few advantages. Since we are in a new area and have no roots or ties to the community, this is a very very laid back Holiday Season.

Not that I am one to overschedule my holidays....its one of those important things to me that my kids don't associate the holidays with a mom that runs herself ragged and is all stressed with an over-booked schedule. Its family and fun -- not obilgations and parties for me.

But still. We have nothing this year and that feels a bit strange. We did drop in on a cousins holiday party for a few minutes. It was great to see them. They took the girls out to see the horses and fed us and it was just real nice to be with family.

Yesterday we had to get out of the rental as a realtor was showing it. So where do you go with two dogs and not a dog park in the entire area?  To grandma's, that's where.  (You have to understand that I am not one to take my dog's to someone's house...especially when they don't have animals themselves.)

And that spur of the moment play date resulted in the whole day playing outside. Mom lives in the woods and one thing she loves to do is make wreaths for the windows out of live evergreens from the forest.

So we grabbed the dogs and went for a walk with our gloves and clippers. I also had the firewood carries I made from pinterest in the trailer so I passed those out. We came back with our pines and cedar and set up shop in the garage. It was nice enough to work outside all day. Love that.
Mom showed me how to do the wreaths as I am not this kind of crafty. But I did remember a cool wreath (on pinterest of course) so I sort of winged it and tried to do what I remembered. Turned out nice. I like a more airy wreath instead of the thick kind mom was making. Then she decided she liked it airy better too and redid hers.
And 5 wreaths later we had all of them hung in the windows of the house.

And that is the danger of living close to my mom. LOL. She always has a project going on and I never know what I will end up in the middle of.  Which isn't actually a complaint, I learn alot. (I also sneezed alot this time because I'm allergic to cedar!)

And one project always leads to another so we ended up setting up some outdoor furniture for when the rest of the family arrives. Plus I trimmed the bushes in front of the house as one of the windows was covered and over-grown.

All that because I needed to leave the rental for an hour.

Its going to be a fun few months!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Pinterest Move or Pinterest Projects 11-17

I can't speak for others, but I do get use out of my pinterest boards. Most of it is practical like things for camping or stuff to sooth sore throats.

This time I got to try out pins that had to do with cleaning and such for the move. Anyone that has dealt with military housing knows that the cleaning you are required to do is no joke. And if you don't get it right, you PAY. And they can charge you and still make you clean more.

We got out without any charges or complaints. We always have. Hazard of growing up a military brat was learning at an early age how to get this done. LOL.

During the week we had to get the house ready I tried several pinterest things I want to share. Some worked, some didn't.

So here goes:

Put your phone in a glass to make the music loud enough to fill the room.. does this really work?
Yes you can really put your iphone/ipod into a glass to aplify the sound for the entire room. Once our belongings were gone and we had to spend a couple of days cleaning an empty house, I used this trick in the rooms I was in. I used a coffee/tea cup that I keep with me when I travel instead of glass and it worked just fine. I have heard of others using Solo cups even.

One of the things we come across is carpet dents, those little divots left behind by furniture legs, an easy fix for this is to place an ice-cube in the divots, let it melt on its own, and gently lift the carpet fibers with a spoon (or a coin in a pinch).
The ice cube on the crushed carpet from heavy furniture trick. Yes and yes. Worked like a charm. Some spots needed this more than once for the super heavy furniture. Wish I had known this trick years ago!  Really helped when we cleaned the carpet ourselves instead of paying someone.

How To Clean a Ceiling Fan with a Pillowcase - So useful!  Slide a pillow case over each blade and wipe them clean. The dust goes in the pillow case and can be repeated until all blades are clean. When you're done, take it outside and shake it to set those dust bunnies free once more!
Slide a pillowcase over the fan blades and pull off inside out to capture all the dirt. Works. Like a charm. Why did I not know this trick? So easy.  It helps that we have a couple of cases in our rag bin to do this with.
How to Clean a Bathroom Exhaust Fan - they are a very common cause of fires
This was a favorite. The fan in our master bath was really bad and it was really hard to clean. One can of canned air fixed the problem. You turn on the fan so it sucks up the dust and blast it. LOVED this. The amount of time it saved me was worth money!
How to clean oven glass.
How to clean oven glass. This used a baking soda and water paste. I'd say it worked pretty good but wasn't perfect. Worth doing to avoid the chemical route.** Part of the problem ended up being brown junk INSIDE the window that I thought was in the oven. Military housing. Enough said.
Erase hard water stains with a lemon and other tips to naturally clean your bathroom
The lemon on the water stained fixtures trick. I'm calling this one a fail even though that might not be correct. First, its not clean if you have lemon juice on it. Pulp is messy to shiny up after wards. Also, I still had stains. To be fair I must admit that I don't actually know if it is stains or etching of the fixture as we inherted it looking like that. Its possible that it is just etched and cannot be fixed. And it was only the master bath shower fixture that didn't come clean. I still didn't like rubbing the lemon juice and bits up.
The best oven cleaner! Cover bottom of oven with baking soda, then pour vinegar so it's all wet. Let sit around 20 minutes or so then wipe all of it out with damp cloth or sponge.  Leave oven door open.  After drying you may see some white residue, wipe again.
Baking soda and vinegar for the bottom of the oven cleaning. Works great. Now need to find something for the TOP of the oven.

And there you have it.  Six more pins put to the test.