Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Joy to the World!  The Lord is Come!

We are all another year older, maybe a tad wiser.

Reagan-8; Matilyn-6; Jack-3; Declan-22 months

I was reading in Proverbs yesterday; Proverbs 26:11, "Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly."

I identify with the dog...   But for now, Merry Christmas.  I hope the Lord blesses you with peace, understanding, and wisdom. ;)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kicking in a Skull

There is a Seinfeld episode called "The Fatigues", in which Elaine contemplates firing an in-house mailman, Eddie Sherman, for screwing up something in the mail room.  But upon meeting Eddie Sherman in his fatigues, instead of firing him, she promotes him.

So, eventually this ensues.

Obviously Sherman is unqualified for copy writing, so Elaine has no choice but to...promote him again.  Eventually she promotes him so high that he gets a better job at a better company.  And he's unqualified to run the mail room!  It's so funny.

And so incredibly ironic that the same thing is happening in real life.  The whole Susan Rice fiasco has me thinking about this episode nearly every time I read about Rice.

On Sept. 11, 2012, we were attacked in Lybia where our ambassador Chris Stevens was killed along with three other Americans.  The following month was filled with a story out of Washington that there was this little viewed youtube video that incited a riot which got out of hand.


The person designated to carry the water on this narrative was Susan Rice, our ambassador to the UN.  She blatantly lied to the American people about the Lybia attack, insisting that it was not terrorism but instead a riot in response to our apparent insensitivity towards Muslims.

What's so unbelievable is that now she's being considered for PROMOTION!  And those of us who dare to criticize her judgement in perpetuating a known lie are called racists and sexist.  I get the sense that Sherman is Rice, the Administration is Elaine, and we're the audience, laughing, smiling and nodding at the hilarity that is real life.

If I don't laugh, I'll cry.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Microwave Kettle Corn-Butter Free!

I have come up with a delicious, microwavable kettle corn.  And it doesn't use butter!

  1. In a glass bowl, melt a scant tablespoon of Coconut Oil in the microwave.  I cooked it for one minute.  I think this is one of the tricks to pop corn.  Hot Oil helps keep the kernels from drying out.  I read that somewhere.
  2. Once melted, stir in a heaping tablespoon of Sugar and stir, trying to dissolve.  It probably won't, but at least get it nice and mixed.
  3. Add a dash of salt.
  4. Then add in about a quarter cup of pop corn.  Stir that all together to coat the kernels.
  5. Microwave, COVERED, on high for about 2 minutes and 15 seconds, or until the kernels are popping more than one second apart.  I use one of those microwave plate covers over my Pyrex bowl.
  6. If you see steam rising from the vents of the plate cover, your sugar is burning.  STOP THE MICROWAVE IMMEDIATELY!  Or you will end up with burnt sugar smell all over the neighborhood.  And when someone comes to the door, like some poor unsuspecting Postal Worker to deliver a registered letter, he will ask, "Did someone burn sugar?"  And you will nod and admit that yes, you did.  And he will say, "Yeah, you can smell it all over the neighborhood."  And you will be embarrassed.  As if wasting the oil, sugar and corn kernels wasn't already frustrating, but now you'll be embarrassed.  Watch your corn!
  7. Immediately dump the corn into another bowl to slow the caramelizing process of the sugar.
  8. Feed to your family.  Unless of course, like mine, they don't like the same snacks two days in a row or they tasted the Kettle Corn Seasoning and realize that homemade food doesn't taste as good as the store food.  But whatever, more for me, I mean, you.
  9. Wash your bowl before making another batch.  Burnt sugar, people!  Burnt sugar, BAD!
Helpful Hints:

I tried shaking up the bowl halfway between the cooking cycle and that was actually a good idea.  The majority of kernels popped up and the shaking helped the sugar distribute.

To clean up the bowl do not, I repeat, DO NOT soak the bowl in water.  It will seize the sugar and become much more difficult to clean off.  I recommend using a nylon scraper to scrap off the minimally (hopefully) sticky sugar on the bottom of the bowl.  Once you've removed the cooked stuff, wash with soap and water. And Voila! Clean glass bowl ready for the next round!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Election Reaction

Well, let's just say I was surprised.  And I learned several things.

1.  Not watching T.V. for an entire year left me in the dark about the candidates' ads.  Although I enjoyed a lot of peace at not being inundated nightly with candidates' after candidates' ads, I had very little idea about what was being said.

2. Surprisingly, negative campaigning apparently works!

3.  There are a lot of unintelligent voters out there and the Democratic party got them mobilized.  We are now facing an entire electorate that has been solely educated through the school systems which has purposefully avoided the instruction of history and economics.

4.  We also have a large percentage of single-parent Americans which allows the government to step in and be baby-daddy.  Government and schools are all too happy to fill the void that parents and churches have left open.

5.  Mitt Romney was not compelling enough to get the Conservatives out.  He lost by more votes than McCain received, and I had to close my eyes and pull the lever for him.

6.  Obama won by fewer votes this time than he did in 2008.  This tells me that a lot of people are dissatisfied with the direction of his policies.  But that still wasn't enough to get more people out to vote for Romney.

Meanwhile, more people voted for Obama and we are left to pick up whatever we can and survive for another four years.  Taxes will go up for all of us.  But the majority of Americans will be comfortable in their poverty thanks to massive a Food Stamp program and Obamacare.  Which is why they voted last week.  They voted to keep for themselves a lifestyle for which they will not work.  As Rush Limbaugh said, "We were running against Santa Clause."

And Republicans stayed home.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

For What It's Worth

I realize that we are within four days of the election, and most of you have probably already filled out your ballots, but I thought I would go through the propositions and list out how I'll vote for them.

First up, the Western Maricopa Education Center District would like to offer a bond to the tune of $74,900,000, which will increase our property taxes by $3.93 per $100,000 of home value.  This bond will fund a new technical skills, job training program.
         *I'll be voting No.  I expect I'm a lone voice on this.  High schools and community colleges are more than capable to provide this service and training.  Why does the School District need more money to do something that high schools and community colleges already do?  Furthermore, there are no actual details to what the money will spent on.  For example, where will the building be?  Is there going to be an actual facility?  Or is the money for teachers and curriculum?  I didn't find any of that information in the document.  The days of reckless spending should be over and we need to start with exercising a bit of discipline when it comes to educational services such as these.

Now, onto the Props!

100's signify Constitutional ammendments, 200's signify citizen initiatives to create new or amend current state laws, 300's signify legislative referrals to create new or amend current states and 400's are local matters.

Prop 114

This prop would amend the Arizona Constitution to exempt the victim of a crime from any damages and protect the victim from liability of damages, death or injury.  "A crime victim is not subject to a claim for damages by a person who is harmed while attempting to engage in conduct classifies as a felony offense, while engaging in conduct classified as a felony offense of while fleeing from such conduct."

         *I will vote Yes on this amendment.  I love Russell Pearce's opening line in his support for this prop, "Here is a simple and good idea.  Let's stop the bad guys from suing their victims."   This is an amendment so that a robber breaking into a house and falls and breaks his neck on the property can't sue the homeowner because the injury occurred on the property.  Or if a homeowner is rightfully protecting his property with a weapon, and a gun fight ensues the criminal can't sue the owner.

Prop 115

This prop would amend the Constitution to make changes in regards to the selection and retention of state judges and justices.  The Superior Court judges would serve 8 year terms, the mandatory retirement age will be raised to 75 (instead of 70), and several changes for the appointment of judges in the case of vacancies.

         *I will vote Yes.  The Center for Arizona Policy is for it and that's a fantastic endorsement in my opinion.

Prop 116

This prop would allow farmers to exempt their machinery, equipment and store fixtures purchases from taxation.
         *I will vote Yes  for this amendment.  My hope is that with the tax exemption, the agriculture business will grow and pass on savings to consumers.  At the very least, it could possibly help farmers to hire more employees.  (Well, not if Obamacare is not repealed...another issue, but must be considered in the grand scheme.  Another post, another day.)  Also, I love it when we can reduce taxes...  Big fan...

Prop 117

This prop limits the amount of "full cash value" for the above tax-exempt machinery and purchases of farmers.  The amount may not exceed 5% of the previous year's value.

       *I will vote Yes for this amendment.  Limiting the amount of

Prop 118

This proposition would allow the state to collect 2.5% of the average market value to use the state-trust land for public instruction institutions.  We already collect an amount for land useage permits.  But the formula is really convoluted  this proposition would make the amount available pretty straight forward and would allow the state to harness more of the money.

         *I will vote Yes for this amendment.  This just makes sense.  Instead of raising property taxes on the citizens, how about we utilize what we have to pay for our education programs?  Yes, this is the right thing to do.

Prop 119

This prop will amend the Constitution to allow the state to exchange trust land for other public land in this state as long as two requirements are met: 1. The exchange must be in the best interest of the state land trust.   2. The purpose of the exchange will assist in preserving and protecting military facilities.  3. There must be two appraisals on the value of the land.  4. A public notice must be given.  And 5. the voters get the final approval of the exchange in a November general election.

         *I will vote Yes for this.  I'm always in favor of the state being able to use the land we have to our full advantage.  We are incredibly blessed in Arizona with lots of land, we should be using it as income, and we should be trying to keep our military installations here in AZ instead of losing them to different states.  I like this proposition.

Prop 120

This is another prop about land usage.  This prop will allow the state to declare sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife, and other natural resources, with the exception of Indian reservation land.  This amendment "would declare that each state possesses full attributes of sovereignty on an equal footing with all other states,as provided by the United States Constitution, and that state sovereignty is fundamental to the security of individual rights, free government and the inherent political power of the people"

         *I will vote Yes on Prop 120.  You had me at state sovereignty.

Prop 121

This proposition is perhaps the most controversial of the props on the ballot this year.  This is the "open primary" proposition.  This prop will eliminate the partisan primary election with an open "top two" primary election.  This is incredibly deceitful because they interests involved are suggesting this change to the primary election for fiscal interests.  "It's too expensive to print off sample ballots of the two parties!", they say.

Whatever.  This prop will in reality allow a massive amount of special interests to fund the top picks and essentially eliminate any other contender.  I don't like it, not one bit.  The proponents of this bill would say this is the best way to open up the election process.  But actually, it would make the primary process more convoluted since it would not compel a candidate to disclose their party identification.  It's also billed as a way to get more moderates onto the ballot and to increase the independent voter turn-out.  This is simply a fallacy.  Independent voters already vote how they want to vote.  And they can even petition to get on the general ballot.  There is no real hindrance to independents.

         *I will vote No on Prop 121.

Prop 204

This proposition would make permanent the temporary tax increases enacted in May of 2010.  This expires in May of 2013.

         *I will vote No on Prop 204.  I do not think that sales tax helps anyone.  I think it actually harms local business because it penalizes consumption.  I believe the best way to help schools and other municipalities is to help them be more responsible with what's given.  It may seem cruel, but it's not.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Financial Independence

I read an article by Thomas J. Stanley yesterday about the income levels of Goodwill Shoppers.

I was encouraged.  For the past year I have been fairly committed to only buying clothes for the children at resale stores, with the exception of shoes since a couple of the kids tend to need new shoes every other month, I've had to buy those new.  (I'm not sure if that's a run-on sentence.  It's late...)

We have not completed our goal of paying off our consumer debt yet, but we have been making headway and we have two months still to go until January.  I'm usually encouraged by Thomas Stanley's tweets with links to articles about the behavior of the wealthy and the legacy they leave for their children.

In addition to reading Stanley's articles I also listen to Dave Ramsey.  If you have IheartRadio I highly recommend the Dave Ramsey station.  You can listen to his radio broadcasts on a loop.  It's so great!  I'm always inspired to keep on keeping on!  Love him!!!!

To be clear, it's not about wealth so much as it's about my relationship with money.  I am desperate for the stronghold of debt to be released.  I am desperate to be free to fully live for Christ.  That is true independence.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Economic Woes

I was listening to the radio today on my home from the grocery store this morning and I caught something remarkable.  I was listening to the Dennis Prager show and he had on a person named George Gilder.  I've never heard of him, but his common sense was refreshing.

In any case, Dennis Prager said something about having seen a man-on-the-street interview with a woman who said, "I don't care about any economic issues.  I only vote based on same-sex marriage and abortion."  Dennis Prager was shocked but George Gilder was not.  Mr. Gilder went on to say that in an age where our education is largely infiltrated by the left, it's unsurprising that so many people are uneducated about important issues such as economics.

I felt I must try to help stand in the gap.  I read a book this year titled Thou Shall Prosper by Daniel Lapin.  It was one of the most interesting books I read this year, and that post will be forthcoming.  However, in the book, the author points out that Economics was once taught under the Religious Studies wing of colleges.  Economics, the study of human behavior, how a society works, the value of work on society, what happens in societies when subjects don't work, etc, absolutely has everything to do with one's religion, with one's view of sin and mankind.

Is it any wonder that our educational institutions have ceased to actually teach economic theory?

Therefore, I think it's imperative to at least try and explain a little bit of the current economic climate, knowing that many may not think it matters, like the woman above who is only going to vote on her favorite issues.

The American economy is in danger of collapse.  I am concerned that not enough people care, though.  Real wages in August actually dropped, while consumer confidence increased.  What does this mean?  I think it could mean two things: 1. That people are hopeful for the future. Or 2. people are not paying attention.  I think it could be both. If people are thinking Romney will win, then maybe they'll spend money a bit more confidently hoping that a Republican Congress and President will repeal a bunch of the restrictions on business the Obama Administrations have put in place.  Whatever is going on, real wages dropped.  Fewer people are working, and if they are working, they're working for LESS than in 2008.

That's not even touching the atrociously high fuel costs that have made everything more expensive. Does anyone remember the glory days of $1.85 a gallon gasoline?  I would love those days back.  Even if wages remained somewhat stagnant, a relief in gasoline prices would feel like a raise, right?

The real danger is the amount of spending the US government continues to incur.  The Obama administration has incurred more real debt than any other president, and that includes Reagan and George W. Bush.  We can not sustain that kind of spending.  We will end up bankrupt, a la Greece and Spain.  It's an incredibly dangerous place to be.

So, I think it's behooves all of us to think a bit more deeply about economic issues and the larger impact of a society that does not value work and instead thinks government exists to give us things.  I for one trust what the Bible says about work.  It is a joy to work.  It is an honor to have something to do.  Work is a good thing.  Here's just a small sampling.

Psalm 128:2 
You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Proverbs 12:11 
Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
Proverbs 14:23 
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
Proverbs 18:9 
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
Ecclesiastes 3:22 
So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Best Waffles Ever

And they're Gluten Free!

I'm experimenting with bringing the family to gluten free lives.  My #2 daughter has been on Miralax for four years and now my #1 son is on Miralax too.  I'm nervous to potty train him because I know constipation complicates potty training; it certainly did with #2 daughter!  I won't go into detail here, but it was a traumatic experience.  Seriously, poop everywhere.  And add to that, #2 son has an ongoing rash which I can not really get rid of, not to mention frequent excrement.  I know this is a lot of information.  Gross.

So, I'm hoping that gluten is the culprit.

I'm also hoping that gluten is a reason that my body has rejected my weight loss attempts.  I'm really frustrated on that end.  But then again, I think I haven't been taking it seriously enough.  It's like everything in life, a quick fix won't last.  Therefore, I'm willing to try gluten-free, in fact, grain-free (more akin to Paleo) to see if that helps move things along.  At all.

I stumbled upon this by reading The Blood Type Diet back in December.  Among other things, type O's should avoid gluten as it clogs up the pipes, if you know what I mean.  But I didn't really commit to the eating lifestyle. It seemed so drastic.

Then I started reading about gluten intolerance and Celiac disease.  Reading about those things, putting together my kids' issues and my own issue, I thought it was worth a shot.  Thankfully, the wonderful Erik is willing to give it a shot.  At the very least, we'll all be eating less bread and way more meat and veggies.

Well, it was interesting the first week.  The kids were always hungry and it was hard to get them to not crave bread snacks.  This is difficult on all of us.  But I am really hoping worth it.

I decided for myself to go basically Paleo.  I have some weight to lose and it's not going anywhere with my "everything in moderation" lifestyle.  Moderation has done nothing for me physically.  My BFF encouraged me to be radical, her point being that mediocre diet changes yield mediocre results.

All this leads me to my new favorite waffle.  Weekend meals are pretty tricky to come up with since going GF.  We usually have bagels or pancakes or the like.  So, finding this recipe is wonderful.  However, I don't really eat them because I'm trying to lay low on carbs, but if I eat one of these in the morning, and then no other carb during the day, then maybe, just maybe that will be okay.  (Still can't quite give up my moderate ways!)  These GF waffles seriously rock.  Erik, Of The Discerning Palate, even loved them.  The kids loved them.  We are all happy.

Give them a try.  You might like it!


  1. 1
    Mix all ingredients together with a whisk, and pour into waffle iron, in batches.
  2. 2
    Add a bit more milk if too thick or a bit of rice flour if too runny.
  3. 3
    Can be made without eggs, if necessary; just add a little more liquid to make up for them.

Read more:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thai Shrimp Salad

What's left of my delicious creation today.

I threw together about 3 cups of mixed greens, about 1/2 cup of shelled edamame, 1/4 cup carrots, 1/8 cup red onions, about 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro (I'm growing in my garden) and about 4 ounces of cooked mini shrimps.  Then to dress it I combined 1 tablespoon of Thai Sweet Chili Pepper Sauce, a dash of Siracha Hot Sauce, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of Rice Vinager.

OH YUM!  Muy Delicioso!  It had a kick because of the Hot Sauce, but the sweet chili pepper sauce with the cilantro completely complemented it.  I hope you'll give it a try.

And best of all, the salad was about 220 calories.  WOW!  Love that!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Where Did the Month Go?

Well, here we are, almost finished with February and I've barely posted.
We were SUPER busy last week with THREE birthdays in THREE days.  Matilyn turned six.

Declan turned one.  He LOVED his cake.  Oh, he's the cutest thing.

 The girls had their first piano recital at ASU.  It was very nice and the girls performed very well.  And yes, that is correct, Matilyn has outgrown Reagan.

Here is a rediculously cute picture of Reagan and Declan last month.  I could just eat them up!
 Here is a picture of me terminating my relationship with American Express.  She's outa here...

And here is our family picture from January that my BFF Katie took for us.  That's about the best picture anyone can get of Jack.  He's cute, but he also stinks.  Below is a picture of him hitting Erik during the photo session.  It's really funny...
So, yep, it's been a crazy busy month.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.  They don't happen very often you know...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Review: Stop Acting Rich and Start Living Like a Real Millionaire

I had to switch up my order of non-fiction reading because this book was due back to the library before Power Thoughts.  So, I stopped reading Power Thoughts, put it aside, and picked up Stop Acting Rich and Start Living Like a Real Millionaire by Thomas J. Stanley.

This was one of the most influential books I've read.  I'm seriously glad I read it.  If you recognize the author it's because he also wrote The Millionaire Next Door, which I have not read, although Erik has.

Stop Acting Rich is a statistical book that analyzes the purchasing trends of the millionaires and decamillionaires, and makes sense of what the majority of your average millionaires do for a living, do with their money, and where they live.

Would you believe that your average millionaire lives in a house worth less than $300,000?  I was shocked.  It turns out that millionaires have figured something very crucial out: live in a home below your means.  You see, when a person, whether a millionaire or not, lives in an affluent neighborhood (homes upwards of $600,000) there is a social pressure to keep up with the neighbors and their purchases, cars, activities, hobbies, etc.  The problem is that these neighborhoods attract the wannabes (Mr. Stanley uses a different name, I just can't remember it).  And the wannabes do not have the financial ability to responsibly keep up with the neighbors, so they either go into debt or they are stressed about life.  Average millionaires know that to live in affluence, you must continue to be affluent, and that only leads to less satisfaction.

Which leads to the main secret Mr. Stanley found average millionaires believe: to be happy in life, live below your means.

Genius.  How have I never gotten that?!?!

There is a three types of millionaires: the glittering rich, the investment rich, and the income rich.  The glittering rich make up about 1% of all millionaires and they do live below their means because their income is unbelievably high.   On the other hand, high income earners report very little satisfaction in life because they are constantly trying to keep up with their neighbors habits.  And still differently, the average millionaires, the ones with investments, report very high life satisfaction.  Satisfaction and dissatisfaction have everything to do with spending.  

Most millionaires surveyed do not have wine cellars, do not pay more than $10 a bottle on wine, do not own prestige brands of clothes or jewelry, and when they buy suits, they buy them from JC Penny's or Macy's.

The majority of the high-income wealthy have premium watches (several), the prestige cars (European), and typically talk about their purchases.  And they have very little investments and savings.

They are also the ones who have high stresses and low satisfaction in life.

What I've learned from this book is to be careful of the messages the brands are sending to me.  The premium brands are marketing to wannabes.  I consider myself a recovering wannabe, so this is an important lesson.  The prestige brands know that the average millionaires are far too sensible to buy $60 a bottle vodka and $5,000 watches.  Instead, they market to the people who think that owning these things will somehow bring wealth their way.  I can't believe I subliminally bought into that!

I also learned that it's entirely possible to become a millionaire.  I thought one had to strike it big in order to attain millionaire level, but that is not typical.  The average millionaire became a millionaire at about 45 years of age and while making about $110,000 in annual salaries.  And then continued to live at means well below the income.  While on the other hand, the high-income earners made average salaries above $500,000 a year and lived that way.

The key to becoming a millionaire is to live below your means, frugally, even after you have reached your millionaire status.  Then the occasional splurge can be justified.  

I highly recommend this book!  It was interesting, and not bogged down on stats, in case you're wondering.  The stats were enlightening and the pace was good.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Best Show on T.V.-Downton Abbey

Watch it.  It's amazing.  Right up there with Mad Men.

I don't even know where to start about it.  It takes place in England (swoon!) immediately preceding WWI.  The show follows both the upstairs, gentry, of a great house, Downton, and the downstairs, the servants.  And all of the interactions.

This time in history was the end of the gentrification in England and the beginning of socialism.  Oh the tension!

And then there's the romance.  So refined, so controlled.  There is something so exciting about love restrained. Am I right?  It's positively scintillating.

If you have Netflix, do yourself a favor and start watching Season 1.  And then catch Season 2 on Sundays on PBS.  You will thank me.  I accept hugs, gifts and cash.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review: The Money Saving Mom's Budget

I recently finished The Money Saving Mom's Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year by Crystal Paine.  In keeping with my number one goal of living debt-free I decided this would be a great resource.  I have read for a couple of years, but mostly for the coupon advice.  I didn't really think I could be debt free.  I didn't really think I had it in me to slash our grocery budget.

But that was before 2012.  In combination with other books I've read, and this book, I don't just believe it's possible to be debt-free, I believe it's actually possible to live frugally and then be able to save and generously give.  I've seen the light, Praise the Lord, AMEN!

Anyways, The Money Saving Mom's Budget was one of the books I thought I would read to kick off 2012 the right way.  I'm so glad I did read it.

The book covers everything from the necessity of organization to how to play the drugstore game.  The author believes that being organized is one of the most important steps to becoming financially responsible.  If you're going to buy something, then you should probably know if you already have one, or it's a waste of time and money.

I really appreciated her views on going plastic-free.  Plastic as in debit and credit cards.  I do not use my credit card, but my debit card is another story.  Often I will use my debit card to fill in the gap between my purchases and my cash.  And look at where I am!  So, I understand that it's a great thing to leave the debit card at home.  Now if I can only make myself do it.  I'm working on that one.

I also really liked the encouragement to live frugally.  For the first time I finally saw the beauty of frugality.  I had always equated frugality with cheapness.  But I understand it differently now.  It is not cheap to be able to help a neighbor out with groceries because my spending is under control.  It is not cheap to have the cash to give to someone in need.  Frugality frees up money to be able to BLESS PEOPLE!  How wonderful.  I always thought we just needed to make more money in order to be more generous.  I had it all wrong.  I need to live responsibly so that we can give more of what we have now.

Yes, most of what I read in the book I could have read on her blog.  But I think I read and retain better with a book format.  If that's you, and you need a good financial and frugal living advice book, I highly recommend this book.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Goals for 2012

I rarely publicize my goals.  And truth be told, I've had a very difficult time making goals in the last few years.  And I know you're probably very tired of my using the two-pregnancies-in-three-years excuses, so I'm not going to use that as an excuse for not making goals.

The truth is that I've been in a rut.  And it could have been the above, not mentioned reason, also sleeplessness,  or anything else.

But I've found that the things that I want to change are actually the things or behaviors that have kept me in a rut.  No more; this is MY YEAR!

First, I'm breaking up with Debt.  He's a horrible friend.  He lies all the time and totally backstabs me when I'm turned around.  He's actually like one of those horrible boyfriends who says all the right things to manipulate me and then WHAM! I'm on my face because he's knocked me around.  I'm done with Debt.  He's bad.
Declan-November 2011

We are on the cash envelop system.  I believe it is the best way to move forward financially.  I am trying to cut down my grocery budget by 30%.  And once the bad guy, Debt, is gone, we're moving to the 3-6 months of expenses stage.  I'm really excited about my financial goals.  (And yes, Erik is way on board with me!)

Secondly, it's time I lose some weight.  The baby is nearing one-year old and it's time.  I will do this by eating better and somehow will find time to exercise.  Since I've been eating healthier I've noticed significantly fewer mood swings.  Dang it!  I guess my diet does affect my moods and hormones!

Thirdly, I'm looking for work.  I stumbled upon this site, and I'm very enthusiastic about finding some sort of online writing work.

Fourthly, I think knitting is cool and I've been trying to teach myself to do it for a couple of years.  Well, I think this is the year for it!

Fifthly, I need to get my sewing machine fixed.  I realize this may not seem like a goal worth listing, but since I will have to save cash for it, it is.

I'm believing that with posting my goals the Lord will give me strength and perseverance.  And that if I do fail to meet all of my goals then it will be all for His Glory anyways! :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meatloaf So Good You'll Want to Smack the Person Next to You

You think I'm exaggerating?  But I'm not.  (I also just spelled exaggerating correctly, first try!)

I found this little gem on Pioneer Woman's site and I'm not lying, it's AMAZING.

The meatloaf is so good that you will literally lick the bowl or plate.  Not that I would ever do that, but you might.  I mean, after all, licking our feeding dishes is the only thing that separates us from dogs.  Okay, that's an exaggeration.

The secret?  Bacon.

(Did you just hear Angels sing?  I did.)

Bacon wrapped seasoned meat with ketchup/brown sugar/mustard glaze.  This would be my Death Row meal.

Here's P-dub's picture.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Black and White Chocolate Mousse

I have just made the most amazing dessert ever.  Well, maybe not ever, but it is divine.  Give it a shot.

I call it Black and White Mousse.  It's such a clever name because I use both semi-sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chips.  Get it?  I know I astound you with my cleverness.

So, anyways, ready for the best part?  It's made in the crock-pot.  YES!

Here's the recipe.

Adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

2 cups of heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
3 Tbls sugar
1/3 cup strong coffee, cooled
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Pour ingredients into your crock pot, stir so you mix up the yolks.  Then stir in the chocolate chips.  Cook on low for two hours, or high for one hour.  You are looking for bubbles and the chocolate to start melting.

Very carefully, pour your contents into your blender and blend for a few minutes until it looks fluffier and it "grows".

Then pour into a container and chill until firm.  This usually takes at least two to three hours.

I would serve it with berries (especially raspberries) and pirouette cookies.

Oh thank you, Katie Roose for eating this with me so that I don't have any right now!!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's Not Over; Romney Doesn't Have It Yet

This post is for those of you who feel like Romney has already wrapped up the nomination.

He hasn't.

A candidate in the GOP needs 1,144 delegates to seal the Presidential nomination.  Romney has seven.  And since Huntsman just dropped out, his two will probably go to Romney.  Making Romney's total 9 at this point.

Let's be real.  Romney won Iowa and New Hampshire.  Not exactly population dense areas, right?

What was important about winning Iowa and then New Hampshire is that Romney is the perceived nominee and money loves a winner.  The winners are more likely to get more donations.  And then there's the East coast thing.  Who is really surprised that Romney won NH?  He's from MA!  It's like two centimeters on the map away!

Personally, I'd be watching out for the people coming in second and third.  The western states are looking for people to support other than Romney.

I just want to you know that despite what you've been seeing/hearing on the T.V. or NPR, Romney does not have this in the bag.  Sure he's enjoyed the least amount of probing from the press, and sure he's raised the most money.  And yes, he's being heralded as the heir!  But do not listen to them!  It's in the establishment's best interest to have Romney in power because he's not really a fiscal conservative and his social issues are paper thin conservatively.  The establishment thinks that a conservative candidate would lose to Obama, but they can't know that certainly.  Remember, they want to discourage you.  That way you either don't vote or you don't go against Romney.  This is a tactic of Romney's campaign!

Be encouraged to examine the candidates so that when you go to vote in your primary you're not voting "Not Romney".  This is the perfect opportunity to pick a better candidate.

This is a good article to further the discussion about delegates for the GOP.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Books I Plan to Read in 2012

I was inspired by this MoneySavingMom's post about the 24 books she plans to read this year that I have undertaken to do that myself.

I made the decision after I woefully discovered that I hadn't finished more than one book from my book club and then I realized that I had been missing out on a BUNCH of great reading by wasting time with shows like The Sopranos, and Seinfeld.  Okay, those shows are not a waste of time.  I'm kidding about that, but really, I spent 2011 watching a lot of evening television while I was either not sleeping because of a new born or just exhausted from a day of watching kids.

But I'm back on the reading horse!  I have selected 12 (mostly) non-fiction books to read alongside the books from my book club.

Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer

Living Your Strengths

Knowing Scripture by RC Sproul

Stop Acting Rich by Thomas J. Stanley

The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee

A Family of Value by John Rosemond

Life After Death by Dinesh D'Souza

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Being George Washington by Glenn Beck

The Great Divorce by CS Lewis

Jacob I Loved by Ron Durham

Something More by Catherine Marshall

I'm really looking forward to this year of reading.  I will try and post reviews as I finish them.