Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cheap meals

I haven't had a chance to go through my recipes this week. Been busy. So here is just an easy cheap dessert or snack. My mom used to make these when I was growing up. SO YUMMY!

Pear Boats

1 can of medium or large pear halves
Fancy shredded mild cheddar cheese
maraschino cherries
iceburg lettuce

Wash some lettuce leaves (for as many servings as you need)
Drain pears and place on top of lettuce leaves
Place a spoonfull of mayo on the pears
Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of mayo
Place a cherry on top

Cover lightly with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator. Allow them to chill well before serving.

Busy as a one armed paper hanger

I have been going and going since Monday. Had to do grocery shopping Tuesday and run around paying bills.
Today I had lunch with my youngest tween daughter. She sits across from 3 boys and next to her 2 best friends. I had no idea that boys could talk about such weird things.
The conversations went from where they want to go to college. One boy said he wanted to go to another country for college and for the others to guess where it was. His buddy said "Is it the International School for Primates?" This caused huge laughter and for the monitor to come over. Then it changed to can a cow give birth to a pregnant calf? Then to could a woman be pregnant with a pregnant baby? And then finally to a talk about the movie Hellboy and the character with the little arm and huge rock arm. It was VERY interesting.

Oldest daughter has a doctors appointment tomorrow. She is still spacing out in class and forgetting to do homework or getting distracted while doing classwork. I am going to talk to the doctor about what other alternatives we have. I really don't want to up her meds again. The school has been really good about helping her but I am going to see if they have a tutoring program for her.

My husband has gone back to school to finish getting some of his tech certifications. Mainly his Cisco certs and his Microsoft certs. He has over 10 years experience between the military and civilian, but has always lacked the certs. His job is really irritating him lately. More than usual. He's been there 5 years, has gotten pretty good raises, but it is him progressing in the company that has been lacking. He's been promised promotions by the owner and others, only to be shut out when they hire someone else and then expect him to train them. He is really good at his job. Too good sometimes. Good to the point to where they don't want to promote him to another position because they will lose his hands on skills.
So he has been slowly putting out some feelers to see what is out there. We really would like to move somewhere warmer, some place that doesn't have a snowy winter. I just don't like to see him being taken advantage of like he is at his job. He comes home ticked off because of someone who was promoted above him screwed something up that he had to clean up. In his job, they host websites and host servers. Like major companies. He gets to build the servers to host websites. He makes sure they don't go down. And if they have sensative data that it is secure. It is almost a 24/7 job. Very draining on him and us.
Know of any good systems administrator jobs? I can send you a resume.
Monday, October 20, 2008

1st Recipe for 10 bucks

I was going to wait until tomorrow to post the first recipe, but decided to go ahead and post this simple one. I wanted to wait until I went to the grocery store to see the current prices.

Hamburger Pie

1 pound hamburger meat
mashed potatoes
shredded cheese of your choosing
onion (diced about 1/3 cup)

Brown hamburger meat with diced onions. Drain off fat.
Cook potatoes (either boxed flakes or regular potatoes)
Spread hamburger meat on the bottom on a baking dish
Put a couple of stripes of ketchup across top of meat
Spread mashed potatoes across the top
Sprinkle cheese over top

Place in a pre-heated oven (350 degrees) for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

You can also add a can of regular corn over the top of the meat. I just serve the corn on the side.
This meal cost probably about $8.00. I think that might be on the high side. It is pretty good and filling too.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The KFC Challenge

Have you seen those commercials. The mom has her 2 kids, one boy and one girl. They decide to do the KFC $10 challenge. Make a 7 piece fried chicken dinner, complete with mashed potatoes w/ gravy, and biscuits. Of course, according to the commercial they can't buy everything for 10 bucks. At the end they show the mom saying they are over 10 bucks and they merrily jaunt off to KFC to be so economical and thrifty.
So I decided to take on the KFC challenge. Can you make a family meal for 10 bucks? Of course you can. Provided you have a pantry that is already stocked with common staples. Which most of us do. And if you don't then I suggest the following list.

1. Flour-self-rising is what I prefer-buy a smaller bag if you don't use it that much. I put mine in a glass container to keep out bugs.
2. Pasta-I like to buy all different kinds-but usually spaghetti noodles are a good staple to start off with
3. Spices-salt, pepper, season salt are good ones to start. I love spices, so I have a cabinet full, ones that I have gotten when they are on sale.
4. Brown gravy mix-for those times when you don't fill like making it from scratch.
5.Box Mashed potatoes-another thing that comes in handy. You can use it as a breading for chicken or fish too. Or to make potato pancakes.
6. Spaghetti sauce
7. Beans-dried or canned. Chili, pinto, navy and northern are all good.
8. Rice
9. Jiffy or Bisquick mix- They have tons of recipes on the back from pancakes to dumplings.
10. Potatoes.
11. Oil-olive, peanut, vegetable-take your pick
12. Tomato sauce and paste.

Okay, now that you have a stocked pantry. You just need to buy your chicken. The rest is pretty simple. As long as you have a stocked pantry. I guess the little family in the commercial has a bare pantry. I will give it credit, if you had to buy your flour, spices, chicken, potatoes, biscuit mix,and oil then of course it would be well over 10 bucks.
But this commercial did get me thinking. What meals can you make for 10 bucks? Ones that would be filling, good tasting and nutritious too.
I came up with a list of ones that I make already and my family likes. I know in this time of economic hardship, we are all looking for ways to shop smart and have more money to save.
I will be posting a recipe that can be made for 10 bucks or less. Of course this will depend on what you have in your pantry all ready. See the stocked pantry list. There will be soups, stews, pasta dishes, and more. I might even through in some dessert and snack recipes that are cheap too.
Just let me know what kinds of things you would like to see made cheap.
Monday, October 13, 2008

The Not-So-Army Wives

My husband was in the Army for 9 years. He joined in 1993, did 4 years in the Kansas National Guard, then met me on a 2 week training in Oklahoma. He then joined the Active Army in the summer of 1997. He got medically discharged after having some problems with his knees and having a CO (commanding officer) who kept pushing his promotion paper work to the side.
I have to tell you that being in the Army lifestyle is soooo much different than being in the civilian world. It was a huge adjustment for us leaving the Army. Our girls were little, only 5 and 3 when he got out, so they remember very little about it. They have vague memories about Daddy being in his green uniform and him being gone alot. He never had any deployments, but when he was in field artillary he was gone 2 to 3 weeks every month for field exercises.

When he got out, there was a long time that he and I regretted his decision to leave. We missed our friends, that sense of community, the housing (as crappy as it could be at times) and the health care.

See in the Army, if married you usually get housing on post. Which depending on which post can be really nice homes or duplexes that are newer, or older places. This is mostly free, well, it comes out of your BAQ (basic allowence for Quarters) BAQ is additional money on top of your monthly pay. If there is a long waiting list for housing than you can leave off post. BAQ is dependent on where you live, places up north or overseas will have higher BAQ. Mainly it is based on cost of living.
Living on post is like living in a town. We have gas stations called shoppettes, Wal-Mart type stores called a PX or BX if you are Air Force, and grocery stores called commissaries.
And buying on post there is no tax.
Pluses of living on post.
1. You know your neighbor has the same job as your spouse. (the Army although he may do something different.)
2. You feel safe. No one can get on post unless they are military or work on post. Or know someone who is on that post. There were so many times we slept with our doors unlocked and our windows open.
3. There is just a certain comaradery that you don't really get outside of the service.

Lately, we have been talking about how we miss the Army life. He was going back in about a year ago. He talked to a recruiter, got his phsyical, and was this close to going back in. He was going to go for his Warrant Officer training. He was an enlisted man before. And there is a big difference in the lifestyle between the 2.

We do watch Army Wives. When this series first came out, I really thought it was going to be a good show, that would show others just how tough the spouses have it, and what they go through. It does have certain things that are similar, But alot that are so far off the mark that are crazy!
I hope that most people are taking the series with a grain of salt.
Officer wives and enlisted wives would NEVER be buddy buddy with each other. I don't care what event bonded them. They would not be going over to their homes and having dinner or lunch. It is against the heirarchy of the Army. Especially one of them being the Post Commander's wife. And the PC's wife would not be asking for favors for her friends. It just doesn't happen.

I just have lately been feeling homesick for the Army and the community. Dear husband mentioned again last night that he missed it. His friends are over in Iraq right now. In fact we still talk every week with one family that we were friends with at Fort Polk, LA.
Even though I don't want him to go over there. I know he feels guilty that he is safe here and his buddies are over there. He said that if he did go back in he would be at least a year in training as a Warrant Officer and possibly reclassing into a different job.

It would be a different time for us if he were to go back in. We are 30 now and not in our 20s. We actually have life experience behind us, he would be a higher rank instead of a lowly enlisted guy.

I don't know. I miss it, but love having my husband home with me and our girls. But then I see that he could go back in a do his final 10 and retire with a check for the rest of his life.

What would you guys do? Would it be worth it to go back in if this is something that your spouse wanted to do?
Monday, October 6, 2008

Hi. My name is Procrastination.

I swear I mean to keep up with this, but this past week and the few days before it have been so busy and overwhelming. By the time I got around to even thinking about typing up a blog, I was 1) Too tired to care
2) The tween terrors were home and demanding attention and being nuisances of themselves
Or 3) I had to go clean something.

We've started having issues with OldestTween. She was diagnosed with ADD last school year. She started on meds and was doing great for the rest of the year, pulled up all her grades to A's and B's. Now come this school year, her grades started off good, but are now either close to failing or outright failing.
I talked to all her teachers, then took her back to the doctor, she upped her meds slightly, then I made a meeting with all her teachers and her counselor. Something had to be done before she failed 6th grade and ended up in the same grade as her sister.
So her teachers all tell me she is a joy to have in class, that she is very very quiet. SO quiet that you would only know she was there if you called on her.
Want to know what the problem is?
She isn't turning in homework. She gets a big fat ZERO for all the assignments she doesn't turn in.
I felt like such a colossal failure as a mom then. I mean homework, that stuff you do at home! Something that a mom and dad are supposed to oversee. I must have seemed like a nut as I stumbled over words trying to explain that I check her agenda every day, that I ask if she did her homework. Always getting a yes from her. She does do it, I watch her do it. But there are times she forgets it at school or forgets the textbooks she needs. She knows we have the rule that she is old enough to be responsible for her homework, that it is her job not mine to get it together, remember her books, etc...
I even started questioning that. Asking the teachers if I should be on top of her more. I was so relieved when they told me that I was doing it right. That she is old enough to do her own work without an adult reminding her constantly.
So they did put her on a 504 plan. She gets to go to her locker 15 minutes before school is dismissed to get her books to bring home. And instead of a different binder for each subjects homework, she has one. And she can turn in everything to one of her teachers instead of turning it in to each individual teacher.

We are still struggling. Like last night, she has had all weekend long to do 2 math worksheets, she did part of them, but then come last night I checked and she had only done half of one. And I just lost it. We had a her listening, me yelling session. I was just at my end of trying to get her to take responsibility for her own actions, for her homework. I told her if she didn't do her homework, including all of the missing assignments and bring up her grades to at least a C in everything, that tumbling would be taken away and she would owe me the money it cost to enroll her.
But if she did bring up her grades, I would add cheerleading to her after school activity.

I am really hoping that she can turn this around NOW and not later, because school just gets harder.

Between this and her going through the I am a almost teenager and know everything I am either going to go bald or grey.