Changing for the Future

Things are changing for the future here. Not only am I actively working on house projects and the farms remodel but so is my internet presence. I actually have a paid for blog/website. Not a freebie presence. Woot!! I have been going back and forth on this subject and whether or not I wanted to go for it, I finally decided to leap. New year, new me!

Sooo my new blog-site is Old Country Love, and things are really rough over there but if you could pop over there and give comment. Thoughts, tips, and little bits of encouragement would be greatly appreciated…as long as they are positive. My fresh content {along the same lines} will be there now and my existing content will remain here and available on the new Old Country Love site.

Old Country

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In the Groove…

I don’t know what has come over this house, but I am loving it. Things seem to be going smoothly and I am not sure why. As some of you may know we homeschool, which is awesome in most aspects. The one downside for us is it can be extremely tough to get the remodel projects done on our farmhouse. Well, I finally broke down and did something. Now I may be jumping the gun on how much I love it and it may be a bit too soon to be singing the praises of it. I signed A up for Time4Learning. I am a major stubborn donkey and obstinate butt and so is A [8 now, gah}. Well lets just say doing school took WAY longer than it should. Also there were a lot of loud voices and tears {on both parties}. I finally just gave up and told myself something had to change.

We have been using it for about a week now and so far there has not but a negative remark about doing school from her, or me. In fact there has even been a couple of days where she is turning the laptop on and doing it as soon as she is getting up…astounding! Our relationship has gotten much better as well.

Time4Learning costs $19.95 a month {you do get a 14 day trial period with 100% money back and each additional kid is $14.95} which okay when you think about it works out to be about the same as curriculum. They grade everything for you and even have scheduling capabilities. If your child is a little behind or ahead on certain subjects you can switch grades up. It is perfect for A since she is such a visual learner. {As we are a Christian family and I am a creationist I do keep an eye on what exactly is being taught.} I love it also because it does read most parts of it to her. She still has a hard time with reading and as soon as she gets comfortable with her and I doing school things together I will bring in a more intense reading time. For now though it has been awesome. What usually would take 4+ hours takes her maybe an hour. All because we fought.

I had an epiphany the other day, I couldn’t figure out why the last couple of days seemed to be longer and I was getting more things done. Then it dawned on me. I had not spent those days fighting her to get school done! {Although, part of it may be the book I am reading this month.} Even this weekend, she wanted to do some schoolwork. AMAZING!

If you want to sign up here is referral link, Time4Learning, letting y’all know that I will receive a free month or $25 for each person that signs up and stays on after the 14 day trial period.

Cold & Fumes

Nothing destroys motivation like cold weather and fumes. Fumes and I believe the cold is tipping the scales in favor of snuggling in a warm blanket and drinking hot tea for the rest of the day. The end of my project is sooo close. The lacy beast is sitting in my kitchen with 1 coat of varnish and waiting for 2 more. I am excited to have it finished but I think some rethinking is in order.

I had planned {love that word, I could do a whole post of the word planned} on finishing one room at a time with no set deadline. Or at least focusing on one room at a time until completed. However here I sit on the couch by the woodstove, which is making the farmhouse somewhat warm, rethinking that. My head and stomach are bemoaning the work going on.

The cold is preventing me from working in the garage or even running back and forth from house to garage. It is a whopping 3º F with a real feel of -20ºF. At those temps a window cracked is a no. Even using low VOC I start to suffer without a open window. So here I sit drinking hot tea near my wood stove, thinking of ways to warm up our garage or the room in the barn. How do you keep your workshop warm?

Brushes

Y’all I have been sooo silly.

Seriously, for years. As smart and handy as I am I have been stupid. I have been ruining brushes for varnishing projects or using sponge brushes for the last 7 years {ugh maybe more}  just because I never read the label right. Although I swear they changed the wording.

I have been doing it all wrong. I knew that you could use mineral spirits to clean your brush after using a oil based stain or polyurethane. I would, but the brush would always harden up on me and after a couple of uses it would be garbage. No matter how good the quality or how much I spent on it. I resorted to just soaking them in gasoline like my grandparents did. After awhile that just didn’t work either so I just converted to sponge brushes.

A couple months ago I decided to try again. I bought two Bestt Liebco Master brushes; one for oil based stains and one for oil based clears. I had bought one about a year ago and it seemed okay but it gummed up as well. For some reason when I read the packaging this go around though some thing clicked…

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Notice the last four words of the first paragraph, “…use mineral spirits first.” I am not sure at all why I did not get that sooo many years ago. I mean I cleaned the brushes up with that. I swear they did not have the word “first” there before. Let me tell you I always enjoyed staining and varnishing before, but it is even more enjoyable knowing to prep the brush in mineral spirits BEFORE I use it. On a side note these brushes are awesome and love them, we shall how they hold up.

Varathane One Step {Review}

While working on my DIY x-mas presents I had a chance to try Varathane One Step Stain & Polyurethane, in colors Early American & Dark Walnut. We bought the Early American first and after hearing back on color preference we decided it was too light for the gift we intended to use it on{bar stools}. However it seemed to be the perfect color, based on sample at store, for another gift.

Now generally I love anything that boasts a stain and polyurethane combination. Usually my problem is it doesn’t come in a suitable color. I have used another brand and loved it very much. Varathane’s version not so much. The Early American seems to be a bit lighter than represented by the can {not surprisingly} and shown at the store. The Dark Walnut was MUCH lighter than the regular stain. I am not sure if it was that particular can or what. The One Step is on the left with 2 coats and the right is Varathane Dark Walnut stain.

It did give a nice finish with polyurethane half. However I would look at either buying the stain & polyurethane separately or another brand of stain & poly combo.

If you like this, please check out my new site with more like this at Old Country Love!

Dog-Gone Chili

Last night I made chili. It was sooo cold and I knew my hubby would need something to warm him up after working a long day. I decided to make some chili for the doggies too. If I had to pee outside when its this cold I would need something warm as well. That and I had a 3 pound thing of ground turkey to use up in one sitting.

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp. evoo
  • 1-2 cups diced butternut squash
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 – 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 4 – 6 oz cans of tomato paste {or about 24 oz}
  • {2 cups water, if needed}
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp garlic powder {if you are uncomfortable using it, leave it out}
  • 2 tbsp. wheat germ

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, place the turkey, evoo, squash, carrot, and 1/2 c water. Cook until turkey is cooked and the squash and carrots have changed color. About 15 minutes. Then pour in the kidney beans and tomato paste. At this point it looked too thick so I added 2 cups of water. Stir the tomato paste and kidney beans{and water if added}  until well combined. Add the remaining ingredients; apple, bell pepper, seasonings, and wheat germ. Let it simmer for as long as you like.

Now when my hubby got home I had 2 pots of chili on my stove, his and the recipe above. He tasted his, then he tasted theirs, and he asked me why? Why does theirs taste better than mine???? I am not sure why I make better food than when I follow a recipe from someone else. We laughed and said this is perfect dish for the blog…and the perfect name, Dog-Gone Chili, since it was a doggone it moment.

 
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Excuses

That is what I have been making.

I have been making excuses. Apparently I had an epiphany the yesterday. I make excuses. I am too tired. When I am actually just feeling lazy. I don’t have enough upper body strength. Okay that may be true, but find a way to work around that. I am not good enough at it. Then lets try harder, try again, show some perseverance.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I definitely believe that one. I make excuses a lot with the projects on the house. I don’t have enough skill. I can’t use that tool. I’m busy with such & such. If I really wanted this house finished, and the addition done, I would get off my butt and do those projects I can’t do and stretch myself in the areas I lack. I have been reading The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian and I think that may be opening my eyes to the laziness in me. Seriously, if my hubby can work 3 jobs and still manage to work on the house as he does. What in the world is my problem that I can’t I do more?

I got whammied with a blog post by Reality Daydream {previously Sawdust & Embryos} and Facebook post by Nicole Curtis  both saying how when life knocks you down you should just get back up again. Not to give up just because you stumbled. Now sometimes God knocks us down when he doesn’t something to happen a certain way but sometimes he wants us to work harder or in a different way {with or without knowing we have His help & sometimes only because of His help}, to get us in His place He has for us.

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{This meme seems to fit the epiphany, but I couldn’t find the exact link for it.}

2016

2015, I would say it was about average. It wasn’t the most exciting, thank God. I turned 34. Not sure if it is because of getting older that I am feeling that I am running out of time. Our house sits not finished but thankfully I didn’t set a goal to finish it last year. Looking back over the last 2 new years posts, I feel like it was an epic fail. This last year we spent way too much time trying to get rid of the new car we bought and at the chiropractor for when I threw my neck out. Always something.

The last year has me realizing a lot of things. I obviously can’t follow thru with a resolution…like millions of others. I am my fathers daughter, which 75% of the time is not a good thing. That money is tight and will be that way unless something changes.

Instead of setting goals or resolutions, this year I am going to try and make changes. Instead of trying to finish rooms, I am going to try and finish projects, yes projects! I am going to try and be more like my mother. I want to end this year in a better financial situation the last couple of years. Pretty Simple, huh?

First, it has become very apparent of my intolerance to voc fumes. Even with ventilation {i.e. open windows} I end up with a migraine. This year I will not be as busy in other areas so I can plan my staining and varnishing projects for outside or in the barn. Usually the periods that are perfect for finishing were also my busiest times. I am also going to explore non-voc stain and varnish options.

Secondly, I know most women would never want to hear they have become there mother but it would help me immensely if I was more like my mother. I am going to try and read one book a month that I know my mother has read and helped her as well as trying to read my Bible more. I know this will require early mornings since it is the quietest part of my day {not a morning person} and earlier bed times. The first book I am reading is The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.

Third, bring in more money and budget, budget, budget! The hubs already works 3 jobs, yes 3 jobs. He has been known to work 7 days a week. Four of them before sun up and after the sun goes down. The other three days from 3 am until 4pm. Sometimes this has caused a great strain on our relationship, but it helps that 2 of the 3 jobs we can go pester him. I had thought about making and selling furniture. After a certain desk project {blog post soon} I realized that my hubby has the building skills not me. I have the visualizing and finishing skill. We are still considering this, but as a joint effort, not a me effort. This is one the pieces we are working on now, it is a piece I designed from a photo off Pinterest.

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I am also looking into becoming Medical Transcriptionist. It is the sort of thing I would like and can be done from home. There is a course through Career Step promoted by Dave Ramsey. He is very picky about who he supports so I am sure it is nothing scam like. Down side, the $3000 price tag. Which we do not have at this moment or the option to do payment plan. This may be in my future sooner than later, possibly after a bathroom remodel that the hubs will be doing with me assisting.

Any who, here is to the new year. May it bring perseverance, a change of character, and new and perfected skills to a better life.

Festive DIY

After an interesting week of mostly lows, I finally managed to get Christmas tree decorated and in a festive mood…for the most part. I still feel blah and stressed, but things will hopefully look better next week. Here is a picture of my tree…xmas tree 2105.jpg

I actually like it a lot. I did not use any of my special ornaments; the hallmark ones or the vintage ones from my great grandmother. We will be moving the tree around a lot so I was not going to chance breaking one very special to me.

Any who, I have been working tonight on brain storming inexpensive diy gifts for family. It seems hard to find ideas when the ages range from 1 to 28. Especially on a tight budget. Some gifts I know I will just end up buying. Definitely for my own 2 kids, which is sad since both my hubby and I have some mad diy skills between the both of us. It is just really hard to find the time to do them when the kids are not around.

I have one big project for a niece, something  or things for my in laws, two sewing projects that are started but require clear focus and patience to finish, and lots of small diy projects that my kids will be thrilled to help me with…as long as they get a set too. Thinking about these gifts make me so excited for Christmas!! I know that each handmade present will be cherished because it came from mind, heart, and hands.

Money, Money, Money…

Like the ABBA song…all the things I could do, if I had a little money…money, specifically the lack of, has been on my mind this last week.  Not only because it is Christmas, but because we got another lovely hospital bill. What a way to ruin what little holiday spirit I had this year. Gah, who would think a simple echo would be over $3000! And my insurance thinks this is reasonable.

Well this starts the whole depressive thought process. Does not help that I am tired and worried about how I am going to find time for making x-mas gifts and finding money to buy the rest before I opened the envelope.

I had tried budgeting, cutting back, and doing Dave Ramsey and snowball method, but when you are already not having splurges like cable/satellite, coffee, or day trips to the mall it is awfully hard to find a place to cut back. {Granted I know we have done some improvements to the house that were not necessities, but I am willing to own up on these.} It is also kind of hard to do this when both adults in the house have a different opinion on where you stand financially. Seriously, the funnest thing we have  consistently is Netflix and that is the form of the cheapest DVD plan they have. I started a journal last night, kind of a food journal sort of thing only for money. I am going to track all the outgoing (like I am eating it) cash or debits. I am also adding little plus amounts from cash we get from an elderly family member. Usually that cash does not make it to the checking or savings and is blown on lunch or breakfast out. Granted it is not consistent income, but we are getting it and I want to record it for accuracy.

It is hard to budget, save, and pay down debt when you already are not spending a whole lot on non-necessities. It is harder still when you know there is no way your hubby can take on a 4th job to help pay for your medical bills (which is probably 75% of our debt). Even harder knowing that there is not a job you can do to help your hubby that does not require either degrees & experience or being physically able to do the job. It is so frustrating!!! Then you think you find the one thing that may help your situation…and you can not figure out a way to pay for it. Even with the financing options.

The most hurtful part of it all is the fact knowing that no matter how hard I try to get rid of my medical debt, it is still there. Growing with each phone check, each office visit…and that there seems to be no way of adding positive cash to the negative situation.