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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Holidays Get Crazy Here

I've been out for a bit because the holidays just get insane here. My youngest likes to monopolize all of my time while he is home from school and since he's my last one I won't complain. I'm just watching him play on the computer right now. He's all bundled up in a blanket and watching his brother's band video.

Such a cutie.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Too Broke for Christmas?

I was a little broke this year too so I decided to have Santa Claus come on the 25th and then we can all exchange presents in January when the rest of the family comes over to deliver their presents. Everything came down on me at once this year and no matter how I planned it all fell through.

I don't want my youngest to stop believing in Santa Claus just yet. He has already said he doesn't believe because Santa never brings him what he wants. So this year I went and bought something second-hand from GameStop. I bought him a Guitar Hero guitar for the Wii for $30.00 and the game for another $30.00 (I agreed to give each kid $50 to $60 from Santa.) Then, to my delight, my landlord gave us a $40.00 gift card from Wal-Mart. With this I bought stocking stuffers from the holiday candy department and trinkets and gadgets of about $7.00 for each child.

It won't be a big Christmas, but I believe they will be happy. We will have a very nice already planned Christmas dinner.

I'm a little nervous.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Candy Canes and Hot Cocoa

Every year when my children and I decorate the Christmas tree we have a favorite tradition of pizza and hot chocolate. I usually go to Papa Murphy's (weather permitting) and pick out a 4-for all pizza, soda, and cookie dough. While the good are baking we put up the tree and decorations and then eat. Afterwards when it's all quiet and we're admiring out beautiful work I break out the homemade hot cocoa in warm cups and give out the candy canes to hang on the tree. We each get a candy cane to stir out hot cocoa with. It's delicious!

Here is how I make my cocoa:

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer Gherideli)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
1/4 cup real whipping cream (not the kind you put on top of cake, the real kind in a carton)

Mix sugar, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and 1/4 cup of the milk into a 2-quart sauce pan. let it come to a rolling boil while constantly stirring. Slowly add the rest of the milk while stirring and then when all mixed add the cream.

Serve topped with whipping cream and either powdered cocoa or cinnamon on top. I've been known to replace cream with french roast coffee for the adults.

MMMM yummmm...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What Does Alternative Music Mean?

I love different kinds of music and most of it falls into the "alternative" category. But what does alternative mean anyway? Many companies classify anything that is not mainstream rock as alternative. I listen to a good majority of punk and new wave music, which is considered alternative by the radio stations, but why? The two genres are completely different in sound and voice so why are they both classified as alternative? Did the people get lazy and not want to have 50 different categories of music?

Take Green Day for example. A lot of their earlier music was punk. Then eventually they merged into kind of a popish rock sound with a punkish slant. This would classify as "alternative" but it's not anything different than any other band that is out there today. So now if everything sounds the same then why isn't it just "rock" music?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blogging for a Living

I recently signed up for a project called The Niche Blogger where you take a class on blogging and how to market, find subjects, etc. Now I've been blogging for years but I've never really put my heart into it until now. I ignored all the hype of what was going on and did other things.

Since I'm paying for the class I'm really hoping that it turns into something useful. I'll be honest with you--it already has. I didn't realize there was a craft to all this. I figured blogging was just putting words down on paper like I'm doing now, but I was wrong. There is a lot more to it than just thinking up a few paragraphs about your day and getting into it if you want to make a living from writing.

I'm anxious to know how many of you make money at blogging. Do you do it just for fun or do you rake in the dough? How many of you really put your heart into it? I know that some of you call me privately and tell me these things and others send a private email, but I'd like to see it in comments if you want.

What do you think about taking a class and learning all about how to blog?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Is That a Gun in Your Pocket or are You Just Happy to See Me?

I'll be honest with you, there is nothing sexier than a man in either a suit or a uniform except when an undercover detective or agent takes off his coat and is wearing a nice crisp shirt and delicious tie and a nice fitting gun holster. Honestly, I should have married a gun carrying cop. I actually watch shows like The X-Files just so I can see Fox Mulder pull out that shiny piece and then when he goes back to his office he can take off that adorable long black jacket and suit jacket and show me just where he carries that hard weapon. He usually wears a should holster and those are my favorite.

So what is it about a man who wears a holster? Is it the strength and the power he posses? I think it's a combination of a lot of things. They simply look inviting to me. So, to look for a nice place to put my friend's gun I visited LA Police Gear. They have a great selection of holsters where many of them are made for the on-duty cop. I think the best looking one is the Bianchi 390 Interceptor Duty Holster where it's ready for duty at a moment's notice. Criminals can't get away with much when your gun can be ready immediately.

As of this writing you can get a free hat when you purchase a Galco holster. Their should holster is nice looking and looks very comfortable to wear as well as discreet. Made of genuine leather, these holsters will look and feel great when you need to remove that jacket. Details on how to get the hat are on the LA Police Gear Site.

At LA Police Gear I did a search on holster just to see what other results I could come up with and the selection is endless. I'm sure you will find something to fit your needs.

Protecting Your Kids from TV

I recently received a digital box from my cable company and I just love the PIN number feature. My son likes to sneak around and watch shows like South Park and other various things his brother is old enough to watch so I graciously added a PIN number to anything PG-13 and over. He wasn't very happy.

He recently went on restriction to the point where he can't even watch television but for a 1/2 hour a day if he does his home right when he gets home from school. I conveniently locked the PIN code for ALL channels :) Now he can't even watch Sesame Street if he wanted to.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Giving in to the Oil Man

I guess I'm giving in to the oil company. Ugh. The house is too cold. It doesn't help that the front door has a giant leak. I suppose since we sit in the room with the register that it will stay warmer in this room and the rest of the house can heat up slowly. I just wish there was something I could do about that door. I've tried covering it with so many things but they eventually just fall down.

I wish I could just become a multi-millionaire and move back home to California :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Who Owns that Number?

Have you ever wanted to find that unidentified phone number that calls you every night and doesn't say anything? Is it a secret admirer? A stalker? A bill collector?

Well now you can type in the phone number of any number that calls you and get detailed information through Reverse Phone Search. I've been able to track down where certain calls are coming from just by entering the information and finding out if I want to call the back or not. Now, if I had a caller that continues to call me I can even look up personal information to find out who is harassing me and I can do it privately so no one knows that I'm looking into who it is.

I wish they offered a little more information other than the location of the call though. I understand that people want to keep their phone number private, but at the same time I don't want to pay $14.95 for ever search. This is probably why they offer two different plans. You can get the $14.95 plan for detailing information on the one call or if you receive many calls a day you can get an unlimited search option for $39.95 per month. I guess if you're hiding from someone this might be the plan to go with.

Making Monday While I Sleep?

In my quest for making money I've decided to try Gomez. I don't know how much I can earn but all I need to do is leave a computer on at night and help with network monitoring.

I don't mind as long as they do it over port 80!

My account is still in pending status and I don't know how long it will be there. I suspect maybe for some time. I know of one guy who took a few months to get to active and then a little longer for just $5.00 per month. Is it worth it? You bet. I've heard of people who eventually make a lot more.

It's Windows based only but since I can run windows in the background on my machine I just run it that way. It doesn't affect my processing time on the Mac at all. ha ha.

Do you want to try it? Go for it! Just use the button below:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Even the Doors Freeze Here?

I really don't know what I would do if I had to get out of bed at 5:00 AM and go to work. This morning when I got up and faced the -7 F feels like -24 frigid air outside I found my doors were frozen shut. The rubbing alcohol was gone. The windshield wiper fluid was gone. A bit of Liz Clairborne cologne didn't work. Boiling water just froze back onto the car.

My son finally went out with boiling water and a tennis racket and wedged it open.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Are Your Kids Watching CSI?

Sometimes people think just because a show is on television it is going to be appropriate for children. After one extremely gory part of CSI a few years ago I stopped letting my kids watch certain shows at night. For awhile this was a problem, but since I've had my DVR it is very, very nice. :)

This morning I started watching CSI after my son had gone to school and I am so glad that I waited. The first thing I see is a woman getting attacked and then a decomposing corpse stored in a garbage bag. For me, it was great because I'm into all that horror, but what about those who tune in to watch a crime show?

Honestly, what are we doing to our kids to allow them to watch such shows? I'm not telling you what to watch or what to let your kids watch, but I'm just wondering if we're allowing ourselves and our kids to be trained by the site of gore and horror that it really doesn't matter to some any longer. Kind of like porn creep where people who watch porn so often they can no longer perform naturally. Is this doing something similar to our minds? Where the shock of death is no longer shocking?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What Are True Friends?

A true friend is someone who has been there for you and always will be. I just realized that I know someone that is more of a true friend then a lot of people I know. I worked with him for a few years and somehow we've stayed in contact after not working many years later and we now live 2,000 miles apart. There are no romantic involvements or anything, we're just buddies. It's cool.

I've had other friends online and offline who have come and gone. I had someone who I thought would be a friend forever waltz into my life one year, whisk me off my feet because it was more than just a friendship at one point, and then disappear after an argument. We had been friends for over 30 years and to end it like that was just stupid. Very stupid. We had survived friendship for 3 decades and to just end it like that because of a so-called relationship was a waste.

I guess we all find out who our true friends are by this type of behavior. Since I don't go out much I don't know many people in my neighborhood. I know one person who would stand by me through thick and thin and I would stand by her too. We don't go out drinking or shopping a lot, but we know that if the other one needs something that we'll be there. We're so busy with our families and daily life that we don't get to talk much, but we know that we can. She is someone I can trust.

Honestly, take a look at your friends. Are there some that you wouldn't put your life in their hands if something happened and then there are others that make you feel differently? Which ones are you spending more time with? Is it time that you started spending more time with your true friends than the ones who are just more fun?

Put a Halt to Annoying Callers

I rarely answer my main phone anymore. 90% of the time the call I'm getting is from someone either selling something or a bill collector calling the owner of the previous number. Since I have caller ID I can look up the number beforehand and see if I want to answer the call. Unfortunately, many of these calls do not even list a caller name. When this happens I use a service like Phone Number Reporting.

What Phone Number Reporting does for me is gives me the information that other people have listed about the caller. If no one has entered the information and I had the mind rattling experience of getting a telemarketer then I can list the number and what the call was about. For example, today I had an annoying call that woke me up from my slumber. I looked at the caller ID and decided to not answer it because all it listed was a phone number. Then I looked up (800) 448-1103 and came up with a company that I've never even heard of nor was interested in talking with them. Fortunately, I can now just ignore the call and put it on my blocked caller list :)

Another way to use the service is for job searching. A lot of us Internet workers use places like Craigslist and The Telecommute Resource to search for jobs. Some companies refuse to leave information about who they are so it is hard to tell the difference between a scammer and a real company. With this tool you can see if the job is another scam out there by just seeing if the number is listed. What would be really convenient is if they merged with a phone book directory and a cross search could be done. That would be really handy.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Going Back to School?

I'm a lifetime student and I love to learn. I've been thinking about going back to college--again--where I can learn more about psychology this time around. Why do I want to learn so much? Because it keeps my brain going and keeps things interesting.

I also have children who are getting ready to go to college. Since I am not a wealthy person I am going to check out any scholarships out there which includes the Pell Grant. The US Government will help you go to college by offering this grant to a good majority of individuals who cannot afford to pay for their education. I will also check out any other grants available. The Pell Grant and many of the government sponsored loans will only cover the cost of credits and books and often times they do not cover all the credits and require the student pay for a small percentage of the bill.

Since that small percentage can be more than what I make per year and my children might need housing, I will need to help them get private student loans. Taking out a loan at such a high price tag is a big decision to make which is why I need a site that can help me decide on the best interest rate and deal from the private institutions out there.

With PrivateStudentLoans.com I can compare loans that fit my budget and needs. You can even apply for their $10K giveaway to help out with costs.

If you have children then check it out and plan for their future.

Warm Turkey Stew

Nothing hits the spot better than something warm on a freezing cold day. Yesterday was one of the days where the snow came pouring down and the wind chill was terrible. Today isn't any better. Even though the snow isn't falling, the sun does little to warm the place and the wind chill puts our 18 degrees down to 4 degrees.

Right now I'm making the last of the left over turkey. I put it in a casserole pan with some baking potatoes. I'm also making some gravy to go with it. After that is cooked I'm going to take some of the turkey bits and make a stew out of it for tonight. I will add some left over cranberries, potatoes, carrots, celery, and some corn and then make some homemade rolls to dip into the soup. The cranberries will give it a nice and tart taste.

I'll leave it stewing for about 6 hours in the crockpot when it will then be ready. I'm sure the kids will groan because they're tired of turkey by now, but if they're hungry they have no choice :)

What do you do with your leftover turkey?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

http://www.thewatchery.com/

As many of you know, I'm a handbag addict. I love my Gucci bags and my Louis Vuitton. What you don't know is that I am also a watch collector. I have two Gucci watches and several other unusual ones that I found at great discounts. I can't afford one with every outfit, but with watches you don't need to get every color.

My friend has a Breitling watch that I've always loved to put on just for the feel of elegance so I decided to take a look at the selection at The Watchery. Honestly, I had no idea the cost of this brand of watch was so high, but you can just tell by the craftsmanship and feel of the piece that it is well worth the purchase. If you think about it, it is more of an investment.

There are even more watches in the men's selection. I see quite a few that I would love to give my son for graduation or for when my second son makes his first labeled band album. These would be keepsakes and family heirlooms to hand down to their children and so on. It's something to be proud of and to wear during important occasions or celebrations. There are so many that it's really hard to choose which one.

My favorite watch is this one:

http://imgs.thewatchery.com/Images/Women_Big_Frame.gif

It would look so elegant with my casual Christmas suit. It's not too feminine that I need to break out the diamonds and little black dress, yet it is divine. At the moment the cost is a little over half off the retail price and at these prices that is almost a steal.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My New Toy: Magic Chef Sandwhich Toaster

I picked up one of these handy little gadgets at a garage sale or some place really cheap one day. I really think it's the easiest thing to use to cook with. For example, today I whipped up some pancake batter and then filled the slots and closed it. I made the whole batch within a few minutes without flipping and tossing. These won't be traditional and stackable pancakes with butter and syrup, but they can be grabbed on the way out the door. Of course not all can be eaten in one morning so I freeze the rest for microwavable snacks.

Since I've gone back on low carb I personally can't have any of these tasty treats. Did I put it away? No, I just wiped down the non-stick surface and added some whipped eggs and butter. They came out perfect on both sides.

I have other things to try on this gadget: french toast, mini pizzas, grilled cheese sandwiches, and more.

Do you have one? Let me know what you cook in it and I'll let you know how it turns out for the kids. I would LOVE to have an electric omelet maker :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

This is the first year I cooked on my own. I have to say it went very well. I'm still cleaning up the mess, but it was well worth it. I also bought some new plates with some money my ex-husband's mother gave me for my birthday :) They're in the Tuscan theme I'm trying to aim for and went very nicely with dinner.

We had the normal meal: baked turkey, candied yams, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, my favorite cranberry relish (actual relish-NOT jelly), and pumpkin pie. I think it would have taken two trucks to roll us all out of here.

We don't have a dining room table right now (yes, it's sad but true.) I'm saving up for one but now I don't know where I would put it as we converted the dining room into the family room. I might put it off to the side. Hey, I can get one of those nooks with the benches. Now that's a really good idea.

We've been keeping warm between blankets, a space heater, and the oven. It's really cold in the morning and I'm a bit worried about the canary but my kids and I can bundle up really nice. My ex complains about it because he's a weather wimp, but what can you do? If he was that concerned about it then he could stop fighting life in general and get a decent paying job and pay his child support.

So it's 2 am and I'm about to hit the sack once I do one more load of dishes. I'm a night owl so I really do not like sleeping before 2 anyway. I just wish I didn't have to wake up in the morning.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Helping a Friend

I once had a friend who made me feel really good about myself. My boyfriend and I had just parted and I didn't feel like much of anything. Even worse, it was coming up to "that time of the month" so I was bloated, miserable, and very uncomfortable.

She told me to not worry about the next day. She called me in sick for work and then treated me to a wonderful spa in Marin where I had a massage and a facial. Then we went out to a very nice dinner at Giovanni's and drank enough wine to tumble over to the club next door and just sit back and enjoy the music. I felt great and started dancing right away. It was such a relief and great start to a new beginning.

How can you help a friend? Do the same thing. I wouldn't have enough money to cover all of that right now, but that doesn't mean I couldn't treat my friend to a nice spa and then we could go for a simple dinner and a movie. Drinking doesn't need to be involved and the loud dancing music was just me at the time. Your friend could be a movie person so take her to the movies. Maybe she likes shopping or something else so do that instead.

You're the one who knows your friend the most so take her where she likes to go the best and have a great laugh together. Confidence will grow when the laughter and fun starts. It did with me :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Put On My Son's Glasses and I Could See!

I was just fooling around and looking at his really stylish pair of glasses so I put them on and looked at the television in the other room. I think I freaked at that point because I suddenly realized the letters on the television weren't that fuzzy any longer.

Do I need glasses? That is yet to be reviewed by the optometrist, but I certainly can look for frames while waiting for the appointment.

I found a great selection for me at Opitcal4Less. At these low prices I can order at least 4 pairs for each major outfit color I have and for each season. As I'm a handbag and accessory addict I can pick something to match my style for each unique occasion or holiday.

Even better and more fun? They actually have a system that you can try out to see what you look like in the glasses. I really wanted to try their online fitting room but my camera isn't working that great today. I did try to put a picture of my son in to see what it would look like. For his privacy I am not going to add the picture, but I think it's a great tool to work with if you're really into fashion and knowing what you want to look like. It really helps with the buying process.

I think you'll find what you want in eyeglasses at Opitcal4less. When you do, please comment back here. I would love to see a picture of your experiment in the tutorial. Let's have some fun. If you can, copy your picture and put it up on your blog and then send the link in a comment to this post.

World of Warcraft Subscription is Up

I guess I have to wait until Thursday to play World of Warcraft. My son said he would renew my subscription for my birthday when he gets paid. Yay! I wanted to play on my birthday but I had to work so when I opened it up the next morning it had run out of funds :(

I was just ready to take on a new land as a level 37 troll too. Just a few more days.

Do you play? I don't know of many other moms who actually play the game. I wish the money made was real like in Second Life, but what can you do? I need something other than trying to make money all the time anyway.

Want to donate to my WoW fund?

Buy something through the advertising and it will help :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Delicious and Cheap - Impossible Cheeseburger Pie

Tonight I made dinner for under $6.00. I'm getting used to this :) I took a pound of hamburger and browned it with a chopped onion. Then I greased a pan with butter and put the hamburger mixture in the pan with salt and pepper. While the oven heated at 425, I then grated a cup of cheddar cheese and spread it over the meat. Next, I mixed two eggs, a cup of milk and a cup of Bisquick and then poured it over the meat. Let it sit in the oven for 35 minutes for a delicious meal that all the family will eat.

It's not hard to make these. I'm experimenting with different things. There are recipes all over the web from Bisquick, but I thought I try it on my own. The basic breading is made from the recipe for making pancakes on the Bisquick box.

Have fun!

Don't Forget Your Camping Gear!

You know, sitting here in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin reminds me of when my family used to visit the Sierras. I used to love visiting the cabin and playing in the snow while slamming my sister snowballs. OK, I admit that she used to slam me because she is the older one, but we still had a great deal of fun. Even now my own kids pelt me with snowballs when I walk out the door.

I also remember the days we would go camping at the lake. It would take days to get everything ready and even longer to hunt the stores for the items we needed. Back then there wasn't an online store like Sierra Adventure Gear that sold great items like Maxpedition Gear. We could have planned a whole week ahead and had the delivery shipped within 24 hours. Even better, we wouldn't be late with their 2 and 3 day shipping offers.

I know that being with your family is very important, so why not take a break and plan your trip and be sure to order from Sierra Adventure Gear to make sure you get there on time and with everything you need. Who knows, maybe they'll even ship to your location if it's not in the mountains.

My ex just compared himself to a cat

LOL wow. I have an ex who has a difficult time keeping work. Well, recently I had to bail my cat out of the pound because he got into a neighbor's garbage can (neighborly love, right?) Well, my ex comes by and I said something about the cat's arthritis and he starts nagging about how I take the cat to the vet but he hasn't seen a doctor in ages.

Um...my cat went to the pound and hasn't been to the vet since his last shots and my cat needs me to take him to the vet and pay for him. I told my ex this and that a man with two arms and two legs who is capable of working can go see a doctor on his own.

Good grief. What is up with people these days?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Scorpions, Lizards, and Spiders Oh My!

Here I am sitting in the freezing cold (the thermostat says 59) and playing World of Warcraft. I'm in some land called The Shimmering Flats looking for part parts from a rocket car. Why am I up so late doing this? I'll tell you why.

I like working at night. I also like getting my sleep while the kids aren't here. During the day they go to school and I can sleep until 3 and then get up to do chores or start work--whichever comes first. I don't like to wake up at the crack of dawn to get my kids up and out the door so I just stay up. Call me crazy? Nah.

I don't think it's crazy. I work during this time. Since my regular job is from 3 or 6 pm until midnight depending the schedule I can pretty much say goodbye to being able to falling asleep right away. I'm up anyway. I also find that I do my best work during these hours because everyone is in bed.

So what will I be doing besides playing WoW? I'll be typing in posts, doing some phone work, doing some texting and just having fun in the geek world I live in. At the moment while I'm typing this I am raising my experience level by fighting a Sparkleshell Tortoise. I'm almost a level 35 and I need skinning and leather working experience so here I go.

One thing I don't like about working this late is that it is too cold. Being from California I find the weather here bit too frigid for me. It's November and back home it is probably in the 50s or 60s. Here it's 28. Yes, the big TWO EIGHT. It feels like 28 in the house but it's not. I wish it was 80.

So here I will sit. I will go in and do some dishes soon while I wait for the phone to ring. Wish me luck :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Glasses for the Kids

I have two children who wear glasses and I can't tell you how difficult it is to find quality eyewear at a decent price. The insurance companies will only pay for the very basic of frames so the kids balk at the idea of wearing the old fashioned styles. If they lose the glasses we're stuck with paying an astronomical fees for new frames. My middle teen always leaves his pair over at his friend's house. It drives me insane.

At one point I stopped buying the designer glasses at the eye doctor because within two weeks my thirteen year old would do something to destroy his pair. The first time he left them at a sleep over at his friend's house right before he and his friend got into a fight and now they are no longer friends. Teenagers, right? I had to buy him a new pair and within a week he had sat on and crushed the second pair. Did the insurance company help either time? No. Was he grounded? Yes!

He is a real style monger too. He has to have everything perfect so when the optometrist gave him the current insurance company approved selections, he balked and then darted into the bathroom hiding his disappointment. I bought him a pair anyway, but he never wore them again.

According to the Chicago Tribune, people are paying more than $1,000 for a pair of glasses. The last time we went to the eye doctor to buy glasses I paid $350.00 for each pair. The glasses at ZenniOptical.com start at only $8.00 a pair.

You just can't beat that price especially since ZenniOptical.com carries the latest styles in styles and frames. Their selection of single vision lens and sunsensor lens is huge.

The secret to their success? They've bought directly from the manufacturer and cut out the middleman so you're not paying for the extra shipping, handling, and what I like to call fluff.

The next time we need to update the prescriptions we're going to Zenn Optical for our eyeglasses.

Moms Who Play WOW (World of Warcraft)

I'm one of those geeky moms who play World of Warcraft. Actually, I've played Blizzard games since WarCraft for the Mac was first released. Yes, that is WarCraft 1. I used to use the game to test protocols at a big computer company (you can all guess which one.) I loved it so we moved on to other versions of WarCraft.

I have several characters. Since I don't get to play that often none of them are high level. I have a mid-level Troll on Emerald Dream by the name of Purringlion. LOL I get harassed because of my name quite a bit but you know what? It fit the territory and all the good names were already taken. She's a hunter with skinning and tailoring capabilities. She's only a 34. Yeah, I know. As my youngest always wants me to play with him I have to follow him around on the lower levels so I rarely get to up my experience level.

Oooh now some of you are going to scream that the game is too violent! No, it's really not. I've seen worse. The swearing on the game is looks like @$!# and he plays on the computer next to me so I can see what is going on at all times. I actually login when he does so I can keep an eye on the group he invites me to. It's a learning experience I think. He has to learn how to count money and buy objects. He learns how to level up and...and...well I will think of more educational values. LOL Teamwork, there you go. There is a politically correct educational value. He learns teamwork. Are you happy now?

Anyway, I have a mage character and a warrior. Neither of these have a high rank because I don't play with them very often. I do love my mage because I like the magic. I also like the mage is a human because I love horses and I will be able to ride a horse later on in the game. My troll will have to ride a raptor. Yuck. I love that my hunter troll can friend almost any animal on the game, but my piggie is such a high level and experienced now that changing would be stupid. I've won a lot of battles because of my piggie.

Anyway, I'll post my travels through WoW here. Those who play can comment and fun with me. Maybe I can make some movies if I can figure out how to do it. :)

Yummy! Impossible Taco Pie

I think the kids thought they were in heaven last night and so did I. Bisquick is an excellent product to cut savings and time. My mom tells me that isn't true, but after I spent probably $5.00 making dinner I believe what I'm saying.

1 pound of hamburger - $3.55
1 onion - $.35 (or less)
Taco seasoning - $.56
Cheese - $1.00
Bisquick - $.45
Milk - $.45
Eggs - $.45
Canned tomatoes, diced $1.15
Canned green chilis, (saved .35 by dicing them myself)
Black Olives (saved more by chopping myself)

These prices are estimates. I'm not going to sit down and average my Bisquick. I can tell you that it was cheap!

I browned a pound of beef and chopped onions then put into a 9" pie pan. Then I sprinkled the taco seasoning on top and then poured a mixture of the eggs, milk, and Bisquick. This baked for about 30 minutes and then I put the tomatoes and olives on top and then grated cheese and baked for another 10 minutes.

*note - I'm sure that just baking the original mix and then adding fresh taco toppings would be just as good.

It wasn't that expensive at all. Next time I'll make two pies for the growing boys because 1 just wasn't enough. Still, it would come out to about $8.00 to $10.00 to make and that's a lot cheaper than Taco Bell or Taco John's.

Also note that I'm recalling this recipe from memory. I'm sure you'll find a copy of it on the web somewhere. I just remember helping my mom make it. Tonight we're going to make bacon and swiss impossible pie.

YUMMMY

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Cold Cold Winter and Ideas for Warmth

Last year we spent over $2500.00 putting oil in the heater. This year I am not doing the same thing. The whole situation totally depressed me so badly that I seriously hid from others. It was terrible and I'm still digging myself out from under it all.

See, when we moved in the lady who used to own the house told us the girl who lived here before had moved because of how cold it was. The woman said it was warm when she owned it because the siding was all wood and insulated. Then it was sold and the outside redone with siding. I can tell you in some places it looks like the siding is pulling away from the wall. I have to go caulk the windows this week provided I have enough money to do so.

I noticed there is a huge draft where the floor meets the wall. Since I am not a home builder I have no clue why this would happen, but I suppose it is from someone not knowing how to properly lay floor down. On the outside of the house it looks like the bottom of the house has weathered away and some of it splintered. Sigh. I'm so glad I don't own it. I know there is a big leakage of hot air from the roof because of the size of the icicles falling from the roof. There is also a gaping hole where the bats fly in (yes, another issue.) I have mentioned both problems to the owner and I don't get an answer.

So, here I sit. My legs are so cold that my ribs area is shivering. I can stop it with a blanket, which is fine for me but I'm concerned for my kids. Are they warm enough in their rooms?

OMG and another problem that was supposed to have been fixed: we can run two heaters and the microwave at the same time. It's so annoying. It blows out the circuit. There is nothing worse than going into our basement to flip the switch. It's dark, cold, messy, and has lots of spiders. Oh, it also has a possible ghost. Yikes!

Anyway, I don't want to hang the yucky plastic on the inside of the windows this year. I might do the bubble wrap thing if I can get it free around the area. That's kind of ugly though. Maybe I'll do that on the side windows and do the plastic on the other side. It's supposed to work better than plastic though. I have to caulk the outside of the windows. This should be something the landlord does but it doesn't seem that Wisconsin landlords really even give a damn if you're cold. Maybe it's because they grew up here and I didn't.

I would love to raise some money for this whole affair because I'm really broke. Go ahead and visit the site sponsors if you see something you like. Visit the job section if you're looking or buy something. Check through my for sale stuff and see if it's something you like. Anything will help this year.

I'll post pictures of what I decide to do :)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Meals Under $6.00

I've been trying to be very frugal during the past few months. Not having a job for awhile really wiped me out. One thing I've tried to do is make meals under $8.00. I know it's really hard to do, but it can be done. It's no easy task with teenage boys.

The secret for me has been to buy ingredients that will last for a few meals. Veggies are good for this. Beans, rice, home made biscuits. etc. I feel like I'm living in the 19th century sometimes. Well, except for the electrical appliances. Potatoes are also a great source of a cheap food. When you see the grocery bill it might seem like the food costs a lot, but trust me.

The hard part is getting the kids used to eating in this way. They're used to take out, pizza, frozen dinners, and junk. They grew up on that sort of thing. What I've done is just not made it an option to have the other foods. I've cut down soda purchases considerably and I no longer order pizza. If I do manage to get a pizza I will get one from Papa Murhpy's. You can't go wrong with their delicious food and it's a lot cheaper than delivery.

I'll post recipes when I make them if they turn out any good. My chicken pot pie recipe turned out pretty good except it didn't exactly feed the family so next time I'll have to make two.

$3.00 - Chicken breast, cubed (on sale)
$1.00 - Chicken gravy (can)
$0.60 appx - Chopped carrots, celery, onion, potato
$1.25 Deep dish pie shell (you can make these on your own for cheaper if you want.)

Cooked chicken to make sure it wasn't lethal if the pot pie didn't cook all the way through. Pour gravy into frozen pie shell. Dump chicken and chopped veggies. If the gravy is premade you don't even need a lot of spices.

Now, I had put hashbrowns on top thinking that they might turn out good, but they were kind of icky tasting until I browned them separately. I'm not sure what to do about the top yet. Maybe cook the hashbrowns first?