Surviving The Storm: Essential Items Checklist

Destructive hurricanes and tornadoes which hit the planet in recent years have proved that you can never play it safe with Mother Nature. You never know what next ice storm or tornado can bring, which is why you must ensure that you’re always prepared for the worst. Having proper emergency supplies is what sometimes makes the difference between being safe and being in a life threatening situation. So, when the forecast says that the powerful line of storms is going to hit your area soon, you should equip yourself with enough supplies for surviving. Here is the list of the essentials you should have prepared.

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

A moderate windstorm can easily turn into a strong tornado which tears down roofs and breaks window glasses, so you must be ready for any eventual injuries, from scrapes and cuts to serious fractures. Having a first aid kit on hand will
provide you with opportunity for fast reaction and the ability to keep injuries isolated until the storm ends. Besides, it’s crucial that your first aid kit contains all necessary items, including: adhesive bandages of various sizes, medical tape, gauze pads, tweezers, small scissors, medical gloves, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, burn gel and preferably some pain-relievers.

Water Bottles

Water and food supplies

Hurricanes and other stronger storms can sometimes leave entire city areas cut off from the world, where water and food supply belong to the first things you must have prepared. Use your kitchen cabinets or a garage to store bottled water and the amount of food for at least 3 days, but make sure there is enough
for each family member. Count that you’ll need approximately 1 gallon of water per person per day, and include only non-perishable and ready to eat food such as instant soups, bread, canned meals, crackers, cereals, etc. It’s also good to have a manual can opener and a pack of single-use plates, cups, utensils and kitchen towels, since dish washing may not be an option.

Clean clothes

Lack of clean water and electricity happens very frequently during the storm season, so you must prepare enough clean clothes for every family member. It’s recommendable to wash the most of your laundry few days before the storm approaches, including everyday clothes, bed linens and towels. You can also place some crucial clothing items, such as underwear, in waterproof bags and put them aside, so you have dry clothes in the case of floods.

flashlight

Flashlights, lighters and fuel

Storms sometimes can cause a long-term power outage, so make sure you are equipped with a few flashlights, lanterns, butane lighters and fuel. It is a good idea to have a diesel tank to store a larger amount of fuel which you can use for power
and heating generators, car or lanterns. Also, prepare a spare package/s of batteries for flashlights, battery –powered universal chargers, portable radio or invest in self-powered lamps and emergency alert radios.

Sanitary supplies and prescription medications

You may not be in the position to take a shower during and after the storm, where it’s important to stockpile larger amount of hygiene items and household sanitary supplies. Fill your garage or shelter with several packages of antibacterial liquid soaps, feminine hygiene supplies, toothpaste, paper towels and toilet paper, wet wipes, cleaning gloves, household bleach and jumbo trash bags. If anyone in the house uses prescription medications, try to get spare amounts in case you are unable to visit a pharmacy for a long time. Don’t forget to include special medical items, such as hearing aids, eyeglasses, asthma inhalers, etc.


Not every storm which happens in your area can make catastrophic consequences, but it’s smarter to be fully prepared before it “knocks on your doors”, since that can maybe save your life.

What information will I need to fill my prescription through Viagra home delivery?

There are numerous illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis which have no cure. Whether you already have a prescription from your pharmacist, or need to order medication prescribed conveniently, online drugstores offer you more choice with managing medicament. Unfortunately, the risk of increased antibiotic resistance arising from their misuse have been suggested as negative consequences of online purchase of medicament. What is the most considerable information you must discuss with you pharmacist about read more? There’s a difference between using the Internet to get from a local drugstore and placing an order from a pharmacy that only has an Internet presence. There are a number of safe online drugstores that will deliver your order to your home. Medicines come in different forms and we take them in many ways. Viagra is a prescription medication used to treat erectile dysfunction. There are variant other medicaments. Why are generics usually much cheaper? The generic remedy is bioequivalent to the branded product, meaning there is either no substantial difference between the two drugs in terms of the rate of absorption or if there is a difference, it is not medically significant. Obviously, medicines can play a role in treating some sicknesses. Many men know about there are variant steps to be followed while going to be healthy. If you are thinking about the matter, this is one of the best options available.

What is the best medication for erectile dysfunction? It may have many brands, but only one ingredient. Note that Viagra may take several minutes to have an effect. Once you’ve learned the basics about the medication from our website, you may want to see what other reputable sources have to say.

Is it actual for you? If you’re concerned about erectile disease, you have to study about erectile dysfunction. The very interesting aspect you should think about is site. Betweentimes patients need medicines to resolve sexual dysfunction. When you purchase the medicament you should talk with your physician about ED treatment. A medical review about side effects of Viagra show that men’s most common sexual problem is ED. ED is not necessarily related to age. Additionally, the choice of available remedies means that if one particular drug doesn’t suit you, it’s well worth trying one of the others. Generally, both men and women suffer from sexual disorders. Though sex is not vital for good health, it’s doubtless good for anyone. Admittedly persistent alcohol use induced erectile dysfunction as well. Seventy-seven percent of men diagnosed with alcohol dependence syndrome were diagnosed with ED dysfunction. Is ED is curable? Certain of the drugs used to treat depression can also suppress your sex drive and make it harder to get an erection. There are more than 200 common medicines can lead to the disease. Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of serious health problems. It may mean you have nerve damage from diabetes. If you don’t see your physician, the health problems will go untreated. Virtually, a medical reviews found that up to three quarters of men on these medication experience sexual dysfunction. If you have mess getting an erection, it’s substantial to visit a qualified health care provider before ordering any sort of treatment.

Did somebody tell you about click here? No doubts, misuse of prescription remedies means taking a drugs in a dose other than prescribed. A medical research found that taking medications correctly and understanding the right way to administer them can avoid harmful side effects. Luckily, allergic reactions to Viagra are uncommon but they can potentially be dangerous. Adverse events can occur with any remedy. Physician may order few tests to rule out any other problems that may be contributing to the disorder. We’ll look at each of these side effects in detail in future articles. It is recommended that you make sure that you understand everything about taking your treatment. If you experience some unwanted effects which you think may be due to this medication, speak with your health care provider. Never take more of any remedy than is prescribed. Ultimately this aspects are same all across the world. But it isn’t all. Many of us already heard about there are many facts to be considered while going to be healthy. Keeping this information in mind, do some research to see if a company offering discount medicines could be the right fit for you to help your family save money on valuable generic. Fairly, the most deciding element that is considered before buying medicines online is to make a best choice.

4 of the Most Expensive Items of Furniture You Could Ever Buy

Have you ever walked passed a furniture store and been shocked by the price of a piece of furniture? If you have then you are about to have your eyes opened even further. In the world of the super rich no price is too much for the right piece, and to be honest with you, why should it be? Here are some examples of furniture that comes with a hefty price tag, but also come with a quality and kudos that makes them worth every cent.

Floating Bed

This may seem an incredible price to pay for somewhere to sleep, but as the bed itself is incredible it is only fair that the price is. Costing $1.6 million this bed designed byJanjaarRuijssenaars floats 40cm above the ground and works using the opposing forces of 2 industrial strength magnets. This really is the coup de gras in the battle for the ultimate in bedroom furniture. Being able to accommodate a total weight of 900kg it should be able to sleep even the largest couple.

Floating-Bed

If you like to soak away your troubles in style, this copper bathtub by Archeo is the way to do it. Costing $67,550 It was built by the company the restored the torch on the statue of liberty, so you know it should be as classy as it gets. Made of solid copper and measuring over 5 feet, this is a truly beautiful piece of bathroom furniture. It may take 270 liters of water to fill, but I doubt if the water bill is going to worry the person soaking in this stylish bath.

The TufftTable

The previous two examples were examples of new furniture, but now we are going to step back in time. One look at the tuft table takes you back to and age of elegance and refinery. Designed and built in Philadelphia in the 1800s by Thomas tuft, this delicate looking table has lasted 200 years. This is down to the exquisite craftsmanship, along with its caring owners. The table stayed in the family until sold for $4.6 million at Christie’s in London in 1990. This table really is an example of craft meeting art.

TufftTable

The Dragons Chair

This single chair sold for the incredible price of $27.8 million when it was sold in 2009. This price even shocked Christie’s who gave it a pre—auction estimate of 2.5 million pounds. Designed by Eileen Gray in 1917, this hand built example was owned by Yves Saint Laurent, and perhaps that explains the unbelievable price. Even though this is a beautiful chair, and not only beautiful to look at, but incredibly comfortable, the price does seem unusually high.

The Dragons Chair and the Tufft Table are antiques and will no doubt hold their value, but the floating bed and copper bath may not. However, buying these items is not about the cost of the item, it is what they mean to you, as the purchaser, in more than monetary term. Perhaps you think they are beautiful, or perhaps you feel they are the ultimate accessory for your home. Whatever the reason for the purchase, I’m sure it is considered money well spent.

Dragons-Chair

Wellness Wednesday: Food and Shame

Food and Shame…don’t they often go together?

I wanted to bring food and shame up today because this time of year we’re deluged with articles such as “Eat Smart During the Holidays”, “Healthy Eating During the Holidays”, “Eating as a Role Model During the Holidays”, and “5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain”.

While the intention of these articles is to help a person, often it does quite the opposite causing confusion, overwhelm, and even guilt.

I don’t know about you, but in years past, I’d swear that because I was on some diet or another, that I would stick with the eating plan throughout the holidays. I’d skip the Christmas candy, I’d plan on not eating the lasagna my mom made every year, and I definitely wouldn’t eat the 24 hour salad that my grandma was famous for.

And every single year, I’d be standing around the food making deals with myself. I’ll only take a spoonful of this and a half a spoonful of that. I’ll workout more tomorrow. I’ll skip breakfast for the rest of the week so that my calories in would be less than my calories out for the week.

Then I would come down on myself hard: Well, I’ve already blown it so why bother worrying about what I’m eating now? I’d have another cookie and then 5. The chocolate covered cherries disappeared by the box. Why am I such a loser? Why can’t I just control myself?

Guilt that I didn’t stick to the plan. Shame that I couldn’t control myself. I’d lost my battle with food again.

But here’s the thing. Food and shame have no business being in the same sentence or the same thought.

Did you hear me? I’ll say it again.

Food is as necessary as air and water, yet we wrap it up in shame, embarrassment, and guilt until it completely lacks pleasure and becomes a source of constant stress.

From the beginning of time, food has held much more importance to humans than simply fuel, although it is that. Food can be used as a tool to manipulate our bodies-to build muscle and provide energy for the actions we need to do. But it is so much more. Food is how we bond and how we commune with each other. Food is often what brings families together. It plays a major role in our celebrations and traditions.

Food (in general) is not the villain when it comes to health. How we view food is where the problem lies. Food isn’t the enemy. Our emotions associated with food-the guilt, the shame, the embarrassment, and the stress we place upon ourselves with those emotions-that’s what we need to work on.

What’s the solution?

First, we need to disassociate ‘diets’ with health. No way of eating that involves restriction will ever be successful for the long haul. And yes, there will be those few people who will say that it’s worked for them. Good for you. For the majority, it just won’t work.

Second, let’s let go of the notion that there are ‘good’ foods and ‘bad’ foods. I know that people will argue this by saying that over-processed food-like substances are ‘bad’ foods, and I understand that. But what I’m talking about here is vilifying food. Allergies aside, cookies, for example, won’t hurt you. Eating them all day every day won’t do you any good either. Raw vegetables are known to be very healthy for you. But only eating raw vegetables every single day can cause very serious malnutrition issues in someone who doesn’t digest raw vegetables well.

Third, we all need to learn to be more gentle with ourselves. If we’re trying to follow a certain way of eating, and eat the ‘wrong’ thing, we didn’t ‘blow’ anything. There’s no place for dogma with food. Again, health reasons aside, there are no hard and fast rules for right and wrong with food. Give yourself a break. If you have a hard time with this, here’s an idea. The next time you’re giving yourself a good mental beating for eating too much or eating the wrong food, ask yourself if you’d say the same thing to your best friend if she was in your position.

Lastly, take pleasure in your food. Savor it. Spend time smelling, chewing, tasting, and feeling the texture of the food in your mouth. Think about the work that went in to preparing the food. Take the opportunity to be thankful for the food you have.

Happy Birthday Peanut!

Yesterday, the Peanut that you all know and love turned 6.

Where has this time gone? I’m tearing up just thinking about how much Peanut has grown and how rich he’s made our lives.

I know he totally changed mine and for the better.

Before Peanut, Big Daddy and I had what we thought was the perfect life. He had his two kids, and I had my three kids. We didn’t plan on having any together. My youngest was 5 and his youngest was 10.

We each had really good jobs that provided us with a comfortable living. Every other weekend was kidless, so we spent our free time riding our Harleys (Yep-I had my own, and I loved every single minute of it.) and planning our upcoming Wedding invitations.

Sometimes life throws you curve balls that none of the best laid plans can account for, and Peanut was one of those curve balls. It was a huge surprise to find out I was expecting (I call him our Little Medical Miracle), but the minute the shock wore off (after several days really), we were so excited to meet this little one.

Peanut is the glue that holds this family together…our big, crazy, very diverse family. No longer are the kids ‘his’ kids and ‘my’ kids, they’re our kids and Peanut is what bonded that.

6-year-old-peanut

We joke that we’re grateful for Peanut because now there’s someone who’s bound by blood to take care of both of us when we’re old. In reality, it’s so much more than that. Peanut gave us both a second chance at being parents to a little one. He made us rethink the direction our lives were headed and our existence went from one of material pursuits to one of meaningful action.

I became a stay-at-home mom because of Peanut, and because I stay at home, Big D was able to pursue a different career route than he’d intended. Because he was able to do that, I’m now able to homeschool the kids.

Peanut has taught me so very much. He’s taught me about slowing down (making blanket forts in the living room), appreciating the little things (laying a blanket out on the grass, reading a book together in the shade, and watching the birds at the feeder), and finding the joy in my every day.

He made me reevaluate what was really important to me, and changed the entire way I viewed ‘success’. My definition of ‘living a good life’ has also greatly changed.

Every year as Peanut passes his birthday, I’m reminded of the circumstances around his birth. He was three weeks early, distressed, small, and born not breathing. When he made his miraculous rebound, I knew this boy was destined for something great.  Nothing over the last 6 years has made me change my thoughts on that.

Happy Birthday Peanut! Thank you for being so smart and funny, for showing and telling me you love me every single day, and for simply being you.

Wasn’t he just the cutest thing ever?

Happy Birthday Peanut! I love you to the moon and back <3

Kids and Money: Family Economy

Back in this post, I mentioned that we were beginning what we call our ‘Family Economy’. I’m not sure why we chose that name as it really doesn’t describe what we’re doing, but with 4 boys 15 years and younger, things often don’t make sense.  (Anyone feel me on that?)

To describe the Family Economy a little better, it’s a system of payment of wages to the child for completely tasks (chores and other things) throughout the week. Originally, this idea came from Shawni @ 71toes.com and this post. When I came across it, I knew we had to try it.

But let’s back up a little bit. Let me tell you WHY  I feel my children should be receiving a wage and NOT an allowance.

First, I want to describe to you what I see with kids today. In general (an by no means are all kids included in this group), I see a lot of kids who are being brought up having no concept of money or the real cost of living. They’re attending sports camps that cost hundreds of dollars, wearing clothes that are extremely over priced, get all the new gadgets as they hit the market, and watch mom or dad pay for it all on a credit card.  Kids are given no responsibility to pay for things themselves.

Which leads to the next thing. Due to all the government and insurance regulations in place, a kid is lucky to even find a job. When I was a teenager (you know…last week  ), when you turned 16, a lot of kids got a job. You worked at the grocery store, waitressed, or drove to the neighboring ‘big’ town for a job at a fast food place or one of the big chain retail stores.

If you were like me and had a parent who owned a business, or even one who farmed, you started working a lot earlier than that. I started babysitting when I was 11 and working for my parents when I was 12.  My son is 15, and although in Illinois a child can work at 14 (with some hoops to jump through) no one will hire a child younger than 16. My son has been looking for a job for almost a year and a half. Everywhere he inquires he’s met with the same answer, “Sorry. You have to be 16.” It’s frustrating for him and frustrating for us as parents trying to teach our children financial responsibility.

Lastly, I am anti-allowance. I don’t believe that handing my child money just for existing is doing anyone any favors.

Here’s the nuts and bolts of our Family Economy:

  • Each child has the opportunity to earn a wage equal to his age every week.
  • Each child has a chart with his assigned jobs and chores that must be filled out each day.
  • If a child misses one mark, he has the chance to make it up by doing an extra job. If he chooses not to make it up, his weekly wage is cut in half.
  • If a child misses 2 marks, he can make one up to be paid half wage, otherwise he won’t be paid at all.
  • If a child misses 3 or more marks, there will be no wage that week.
  • The kids are required to Give 10%, Save 20%, and the rest is their Spend money.
  • When the boys turn 12, they are required to pay for half of their clothes and shoes and all their spending money. We won’t pay more than our spending limit on clothes that we paid before. So, if the kids decide they want a pair of $120 shoes, I’ll only pay $50.
  • If they want to do camps or anything like that, they have to pay half also (although there may be instances where we’ll pay more.)
  • We pay for socks, underwear, and special occasion clothing.
  • The two oldest boys must pay for their portion of the cell phone bill after their initial two year contract is up. For Jeremy that will be this next summer and for Punkin it will be November 2014.
  • Their Save money is put into the family bank. They receive 10% interest accrued monthly on their savings. They’ve all had savings accounts in banks before, but here they’ll be able to earn more money on their savings-like 1000% more. This is their reward for working to save more money.
  • They can’t withdraw from their savings.
  • They can choose who or what they want to give their ‘Give’ money to.
  • We have payday every two weeks.
  • Edit: We use check registries to keep track of the money (the kids are responsible for filling out their registries when they get paid.)

Jeremy has a contract with us to pay back some money he borrowed to put towards his new computer and to pay an old cell phone overage debt, so that poor kid only received $1 this payday. I thought it was a great lesson to be learned. He has to pay us $20 a month, and he’s only got $42 total in his spend account for four weeks. He’s really going to have to economize and make wise spending choices so that he’ll have enough  money to pay for his clothes.

We’re in our third week of Family Economy, and I am very pleased with how excited the kids were to get paid for their hard work. Both older boys were paid for two solid weeks, while the two youngest were only paid for one week. I’m pretty serious about them having to do all their chores for them to get paid, and believe that if I was lenient at the beginning, it would just follow on through.

I can remember as a kid working for my dad, he told me, “Now that you’re getting paid, you’re going to be responsible for buying your clothes. You can either spend all your money on the expensive shit, or save some of it.” It was a small obscure conversation that’s followed me through my life. I never had the highest costing brand name clothes in school, but I always had gas money, spending money, and money in the bank. I was even able to pay for a weeklong trip to Mexico when I was 15 (with a school group).

My goal for the kids is that they learn that although money isn’t everything, it sure is nice to have enough to meet your needs and to give some away. I want them to learn to budget what they do have and to be content to live within their means.

I believe this will be a great way to do that.

What’s your opinion on allowance? Do you have a family economy of your own in place?

My kids think I’m a bitch, and I don’t care

Several months ago in this post, I discussed how we had started what we call the Family Economy. For the most part, this had been going very well. But, for whatever reason, after a couple weeks off over Christmas, the whole thing had pretty much fallen apart.

Another thing that seems to have happened after our Christmas school break, is that internet usage has gotten completely out of control by not only the older boys but by the younger ones as well. I hadn’t realized how much they were asking to play on the computer or my phone until I said no, and I was witness to the ensuing fit.

I partly blame myself for this. I became pretty lazy about checking to make sure the boys were doing what they said they were, and there were a few cases of cheating the system by the kids which resulted in them losing pay for periods of time as a result. But as I said, after Christmas, this became much more pronounced and a lot worse.

I also blame myself for the internet usage, especially with the younger boys. Of course it’s easy to say yes when a kid wants to amuse himself with something, but shouldn’t I be more picky with what that something is? I realized this yesterday when both my 6 and 11 year olds said they had nothing to do, even though they have a room stocked with legos, kinex, and other toys.

So today, when I saw that again the stairs hadn’t been vacuumed, the entryway cleaned up, shoes kicked off against the wall leaving a muddy trail, leaves all over the basement floor from the back entrance (we live in a raised ranch so there’s one of those handy/not easy to keep clean stairwells in the back), the 6 year old asked me to play on my phone the minute he woke up, and my 15 year old hadn’t pulled himself away from his computer for the last week, well, let’s just say I’d had enough.

As far as the chores are concerned, the Family Economy is pretty serious stuff to me. My kids get tired of hearing me say it, but by the time I was my 11 year old’s age (he’ll be 12 in a couple of months), I was working very long, full time days for my parents every summer, over school breaks, and after school (when we were needed) until I was 20. It wasn’t easy work either. I remind them that their uncle was 9 and turned 10 shortly after we started working. To me, the Family Economy is the best way to teach them that a good job and work = payment and shirking work and responsibility leads to no pay and no extras.

I find it ridiculous that kids are trusted driving thousands of pounds of cars and trucks (in Iowa a child can get a school permit at 14.5 years old-yes to drive to school without supervision) but the government feels it isn’t a good idea for them to work before they’re 16. But, that’s another rant for another day.

So back to me being a bitch. I called a family meeting with the kids today and informed them of the following:

  • Their lack of follow-through with their jobs hadn’t gone unnoticed and because I hadn’t made any notes on exactly what hadn’t been done, they would all be receiving half pay for the week.
  • From here on out, if their chores were not completed, there would be no pay, but the boys older than 12 would still be responsible for half of their shoes and clothing as was the original deal. They’d have to figure out how that was going to work.
  • The one son who’s making payments for his computer (we fronted him some money to purchase it) will have to cash in his CD to repay the loan immediately if he stops getting paid or he will forfeit his computer as was the agreement.
  • Internet usage is being cut immediately. The children will be allowed two hours of internet in the morning to complete their schooling. After their chores are completed, they will be granted one more hour to be used on the computer or their phones.
  • Playstation time during the week will be awarded for extra work done without payment and will be allowed on the weekends at our discretion.
  • Computers and phones will be left upstairs and their usage will be monitored.

I was surprised at the reaction I received from one of my sons. Actual tears were shed over the internet being limited. He argued that he doesn’t have any friends here, which has been a constant struggle for all of us since we moved (even when the boys were in public school). For whatever reason, we just don’t seem to fit in very well.

My solution to that was to challenge the boys with finding a group, club, or class that they could be involved in outside the home. One has said he’d like to join 4-H, one has said he’d like to take swimming lessons, and one wants a class at the Y.

I also asked them each to list 3 things that they’d like to improve on, and was surprised to receive well thought out responses.

Regardless of the positive spin of improvement and community involvement I tried to place on our family meeting, I did get the ‘You’re a bitch.’ look from two of my kids.

I constantly tell my kids that I’m their biggest fan, but even their biggest fan will make rules that they won’t like and won’t agree with. There will be times they’re convinced they hate me.

My job as their parent is to raise 4 well-mannered, intelligent, compassionate, disciplined, responsible, and hard working men…not to coddle them the entire time they’re under our roof. I see too many children reaching adulthood without a clue as to what responsibility means not to mention how to be independent..

My dad has told me, “No one said being a parent was going to be easy,” and of course he’s right. And that’s why, today, my kids think I’m a bitch and I’m okay with it. Sometimes parenting is a really sucky job, but someone has to do it.

I’m game.

What to consider before a SAHM goes back to work

When a SAHM goes back to work, the pros and cons aren’t completely black and white. What then are some of the things that should be considered? And why am I even talking about this?

Well, even though I’ve LOVED my time as a SAHM for the last 6+ years, and even though I’ve defended my decision to be a SAHM (I’m a SAHM and No, We’re Not Rich), that ship is sailing. I never really planned on going back to work, but things here are changing.

What-to-consider-when-a-SAHM-goes-back-300x300

The kids are all going to public school next year, we just acquired a significant debt when purchasing our house, and although I can’t speak for my husband, the thought of living on an even tighter budget makes me feel a little sick inside. Not to mention we’re not exactly spring chickens, and the thought of not ‘owning’ our home until our 70s makes me feel even sicker.

The only logical solution for us was for me to go back to work.

There is so much to consider when job hunting. Just thinking of all the variables makes my head spin.

What I finally did was to write a list of all the things I had to consider when looking for a job.

  • Full-time or part-time
  • What are the hours?
  • Benefits
  • How would this affect my family?
  • Is this a short-term or long-term gig?
  • If it’s full-time, is there room for advancement?
  • What’s the pay? Is it salary or hourly?
  • What is the commute time?

These are the typical questions that people normally ask, but then there are the ones that aren’t often considered:

  • Is there mandatory overtime?
  • How much will the commute cost in terms of fuel and higher insurance?
  • Will I need to purchase a new wardrobe? How often will I have to purchase new clothing/shoes?
  • Will I need daycare and what will the cost be?
  • What happens when one of the kids is sick?
  • Will I have the support I need at home?
  • Are there any hidden costs (more meals out due to less time to cook)?
  • What are the tax ramifications?
  • How does this position make me feel? (Is it something I can excel at?)
  • Is this just a job or is it a career?
  • Do I want a job or do I want a career?

I’m sure there are even more questions that could be asked, but these are the main ones that concerned me.

These questions could make or break the viability of a job. For instance, there was a posting for a position as a bank teller for $10.14/hour for 25-30 hours per week. This position was 26 miles from my home with 3 out of 4 Saturdays a month required. The hours would vary, but would most likely be 3-4 days a week with hours between 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.

So, when I first looked at this, it looked pretty good. In today’s world, $10.14/hour doesn’t go that far, but I really wasn’t expecting that much after having been out of the job market for so long. But then I broke it down and analyzed it more.

  • $10.14 X 27.5 hours (average of 25-30 hours)= $275.20 gross
  • $29.99 in state and federal taxes would be taken out each week with FICA (Social Security and Medicare) is an additional 7.65% total for $21.05 for a total of $51.04. The new take home is now $224.16.
  • I know my truck gets an average of 18 miles per gallon and a round trip to this branch would be 52 miles. At 4 days a week, that’s 208 miles divided by 18 miles which equals 11.6 gallons of gas a week. Iowa’s gas right now is running about $3.50/gallon so $3.50 x 12 gallons (throw a little extra in there) is $42. The new take home is $182.16.
  • There’s also the added expense of more frequent oil changes and tire wear. Tires for my truck are $200 each plus mounting and road hazard so the total will be approximately $1000. I’ll need a new set every four years at the most making that about $5 a week I’ll need to put aside for tires and $10 a month for oil changes. Take home = $167.16
  • I also have to consider that my insurance may be raised too since the mileage to work and home will be 10,816 miles per year putting it into a higher mileage category as well as faster depreciation due to the higher mileage accumulated.
  • I will have to find some sort of after school program for Peanut and most likely Sweet Pea for the days that I have to work late since J doesn’t get home until at least 5:30 pm on the days he isn’t closing the store. The older boys will be in sports after school. Also, I’ll have to find a program for those school days that I have to work and the kids don’t have school and for breaks when the older boys go to their dad’s and Peanut is with us solo. The YMCA program costs $30 per week for after school care. Take home = $137.16
  • Lastly there is the issue of clothing. I have none that would be acceptable to work in a bank. Clothes could be thrifted for around $100 and shoes I buy new. That would be about another $100. Over the course of a year, that comes out to $3.85/week. Take home = $133.31 ($533.24 per month)

In the end, taking that job would have COST me $141.89 a week or $567.56 a month (including taxes)! That’s more than I would have been bringing home.

Now that I’ve bored you to death with my facts and figures, I want to throw this in there. There was also a job for barn help just 3 miles down the road from me. It paid $9 an hour. Sure the physical work would have been harder, and there wasn’t anywhere to be promoted to, but for the hours and the commuting time (or lack there of), I would have absolutely taken that job over a fancy office job any day.

What are your thoughts on these figures? Did anything shock you as to what the actual cost was (other than my tires…I know. Should have looked at that before I bought my truck)? Are there any other hidden costs I didn’t take into consideration?

Settling In

We’re finally in our new house and settling in. It’s been a little crazy these last two weeks with the traveling, last minute packing, more traveling (with four kids and three dogs), waiting for the moving truck, and finally the process of unpacking.

We’re no where near finished with unpacking. The little boys’ room is a disaster with almost all of their things still in boxes, and we have no bed yet. BUT, the kitchen is completely done, and that makes me really happy.

My kitchen…I could wax poetic on it all day long. It’s by far the largest kitchen I’ve ever had, and the one with the most usable counter space. Did I mention the GIANT island with the butcher block top? I’ll make sure to post photos soon.

Woman Labeling Packed Box_shutterstock_66379999

We spent the whole first weekend cleaning up outside. My kids are real troopers, I tell ya’. They mowed 2 acres of grass with two push mowers over a period of two days. The good news for them is that we do have a small riding mower coming from my dad. The bad news is we had a lot of rain the last couple days, and it’s going to need to be mowed again before that mover gets here.

We’re all finding that we have some adjusting to do. Even though we’re living our dream, it’s so different from what we’ve lived for so long. How odd is it to not be able to walk to the library like we did when we lived here before or hop in the car for a quick 5 minute drive to Target like the last place we lived.

Here, the nearest large store is a half hour away, and it’s a 5.5 mile drive to town. I’m sure it’ll be easy for me to fall back into the routine as that’s exactly how it was when I was growing up. The kids–not so much. I’ve already had to tell them ‘No’ several times when they’ve asked to do something simply because the drive alone would cost more than the trip would be worth.

Then there’s the issue with internet. We don’t have it at our house (and most likely won’t in the foreseeable future), and our cell phones haven’t been working at all. Sadly, I find myself getting just as frustrated with that as the boys. It only makes me realize that this move couldn’t have happened at a better time for all of us.

In my last post, you may remember me talking about how I was thinking of going back to work. A week ago Monday, right after we closed on our house, I had an interview for a position that would allow my family some financial freedom and relaxation on the fiscal front.

I haven’t heard back from them yet. I did follow up with them yesterday and was told they’d be making a decision very soon. I’d love to say that I’m confident the job is mine, but having been out of the job market for 6.5 years now, I’m not confident at all. I know that whatever happens will be for the best. And, if I happen to not get the position, at least I will have gotten my feet wet with the interview.

My husband and I have set some pretty ambitious goals for ourselves and our little homestead. The first thing we’ll be doing is fixing up a room in our corn crib for our chicken flock. We were going to to get some chicks this week, but it just so happens my dad got some laying hens last week and realized he may have gotten a few too many so I have 10 chickens headed my way.

We found that we have a small asparagus patch, rhubarb, and raspberries. I’ve never done much with rhubarb, but it looks like I better start.

We did get a small existing garden patch tilled up (Sweet Pea did an excellent job of this). However, it rained buckets before we could get the potatoes in the ground. Hopefully the soil dries out enough for us to plant those this weekend. They are already growing. There are also raised garden bed plans in the works to accommodate the rest of the things we want to grow this year.

We are continuing with our money saving efforts here. I am going to be making all our bread again as well as branching into other things such as tortillas. They can’t be that hard, can they? I’m also ramping up efforts to replace more things with homemade versions. Anyone have any luck with homemade dishwasher tabs?

So that’s where we’re at here. How have you been doing these last couple of weeks? Anything new with my Homies?

Hobo Stew : Use up your food bits!

Since we’re getting ready to pack up our house (Moving day is only 21 days away. Woohoo!!), I’ve been hesitant to buy too many groceries. We’ve been concentrating on cleaning out the freezers and eating what we have on hand.

This has led to some interesting meals…

And some less than enthusiastic children when it comes to mealtime.

One of the favorites (according to two kids) and one of the least favorites (the soup hater) has been my version of freezer stew or as Punkin calls it “Hobo Stew”.

soup preparation

Months ago, I put a container of soup in the freezer. It had been such a huge batch that no one wanted to finish it after eating it for several days in a row. I knew that the chances it would ever get thawed out and eaten were slim, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw out perfectly good soup.

Then I read Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family by Steve and Annette Economides. In the book, they describe how they have a freezer container that they throw all their little leftovers in. When it’s full, they make it into a soup.

It sounded good to me!

On top of the soup already in the freezer went some more soup of another kind, then some gravy, some ground turkey that had been seasoned for burritos, and whatever else I don’t remember.

Yesterday I realized that the container was full and I either had to thaw it out or throw it out. Thaw it out it was!

To this delectable meal was added leftover juice from italian beef that I’d frozen with the intention of making more italian beef (yeah, that didn’t happen) and a few odds and ends that were hanging out in the frig from the past week.

The kids groaned.

One asked if he had to eat.

I bribed them with buttery rolls.

With much trepidation, the kids bent over their soup bowls and slurped the first spoonful.

Jeers turned to cheers! It was, according to our resident soup aficionado Peanut, “Some of the BEST soup ever!”

I do have to admit, it was pretty fantastic. Like I said, I’m not sure what all was in there, but whatever it was it worked.

When I look back at all the little bits we’ve tossed (You know what I’m talking about…the tiny little bit of veggies, the tiny amount of leftovers that get scraped into the garbage.), I wish that I hadn’t been so hesitant (or would have remembered) to throw them into the freezer soup container.

In our new house, this container will take a much more prominent spot in our freezer in anticipation of a delicious, unique meal that is ready within minutes.

Use up your food bits! Start your Hobo Stew container today.

Do you already do this? How do you make sure you use all your leftovers?