Showing posts with label Finances. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Finances. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 29

What’s for breakfast?

The other day I shared a picture on Instagram about what our breakfast was: Eggs, toast, and some leftover sausage from the night before.  One follower from New Zealand commented:

”I never knew so many Americans cook their breakfasts. I feel a bit guilty that we all just have cereal and toast here.”

What's for Breakfast Why a family of 6 chooses to cook every morning.

Which got me thinking what do most people have for breakfast in the US or elsewhere?

I’ve never been a big breakfast food person: Pancakes made me sick. I hated eggs, bacon, or sausage. Oatmeal was out, unless it was instant Maple Sugar. My parents couldn’t afford to keep us in cereal constantly. I honestly don’t remember much of what I had when I was a kid, at least on a regular basis. I remember my parents making pancakes, eggs, French toast, waffles, or crepes, but they weren’t an every day occurrence.

Even once I had married and moved out breakfast was most likely cinnamon raisin toast with peanut butter. It really wasn’t until Ave was actually eating that I ventured into breakfast food, particularly eggs. I had no idea even how to cook them for her, but I learned pretty quickly. We graduated from soft boiled eggs, which I could tolerate with toast, to over easy and scrambled.

5 years later I actually like breakfast foods, enough to have them for dinner…yea.

Pancakes don’t make me sick if they’re gluten free {we love these!} I can eat over-easy eggs if they’re served with a veggie stir-fry or sausage {to mask the whites}. I can eat scrambled if they’re served over avocado, with pepper jack on toast. I’ll eat sausage gravy or eggs benedict {here’s my recipe} for breakfast! I even look forward to the weekends when Matt is home, when we make a big breakfast with eggs, toast, sausage and veggies!

What's for Breakfast Why a family of 6 chooses to cook every morning.

There’s a very simple reason why we cook breakfast every day…whether it’s baked oatmeal muffins, yogurt, eggs or pancakes: CEREAL IS EXPENSIVE! A box of cereal {the kind I’ll actually buy and eat…yes, I’m picky about that too} is $4.50 a box or more. The kids will eat an entire box in about 10 minutes, and be looking for more. We just can’t afford that. Of course, there are all those other reasons about breakfast being the most important meal of the day and such, but for us…it’s money.

What do you eat for breakfast, whether every day or only on the weekends?

Monday, February 18

It’s possible…

I’ve posted a couple of times about my pipe dream of tearing off the back of our house and doing a full renovation, complete with finished basement and master bedroom “suite”.

Well, after several months, we finally had the contractor get in touch with us for the estimate for the foundation. I am pleased to say that my pipe dream is going to cost less {for the foundation at least} than repairing the existing foundation: Yippee! So much so that we’re going to ask him t0 give us an estimate for a full foundation, not just a crawl space foundation. Which means that we might just be able to drastically increase the square footage of our house!

I am so excited!!! {Matt may or may not share my enthusiasm.}

Of course this is still in the dream phase. It would be nice if we could start next year, but there are a lot of details {financing being the first} that need to be worked out. We still have to work up some rough plans to take to the local lumber store and have them give us an estimate on the cost of construction materials. Not to mention we’ll be moving in with my in-laws for a few months, while the bulk of the work is done.

But, this is what I’ve come up with so far…

First Floor {Kitchen/Laundry Area}
First Floor Plan

3D View of Kitchen/Laundry Room

First Floor 3d 1First Floor 3d 3

First Floor 3d 2 The new space measures approximately 30’x20’, which is awesome, but makes for a really huge bedroom, which is what the space above will be. We’ll have a bathroom in the space; it will be nice to have a full bathroom upstairs.

Second Floor Floor Plan

That’s the pipe dream. The basement isn’t going to be anything crazy, but it will be finished with a 3/4 bath so that we can have visitors and they have a place of their own. It will mostly be the kids playroom/TV room, but we will have a pullout sofa down there so that there is a place to sleep.

Now we just have to figure out precisely what this is going to cost, then figure out financing and if we can afford it. We’ll definitely be doing it in phases, since there is no way we can afford to do it all at once. The kitchen will be the priority, with the basement after that, then the master bedroom. Fortunately, we can do most of the work ourselves, with help.

The new marriage test: We’ve survived major back injuries, infertility, triplets….now to see if we can survive a home renovation!

If you follow me on Pinterest, you can bet there will be lots of pins about kitchens and renovations over the next year!

Thursday, November 3

Forgot to mention

We had this "big" snow storm blow through last weekend. Some people lost, and still don't have back yet, power, but we were fine and just had some beautiful views. Until we got up on Sunday morning and Matt left to go out in the woods for a while for hunting season.
That's not an open window: A branch fell from a tree along our driveway and smashed the back windshield of Matt's car...yeay! Matt saw the branch, but it honestly wasn't big enough to do much must have been the right mix of warm glass and cold snow and pressure. Of course we don't have comprehensive on the car, and Matt said it's not worth submitting to our home owner's insurance.

We'll be $400 poorer when the guy comes this afternoon to fix it...fortunately they're coming here, rather than me having to take Ave in a broken car and wait for it to be fixed. This is the company that you see and hear everywhere for repairing auto glass at your home. Hopefully they're good. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, May 21

And so it begins....(Part 2)

Part 2
2) I know the majority of people where we live are wondering how they’re going to be heating their homes next winter. My mom estimates that it will cost them approximately $5000 to heat their 1500sqf home for the months of October through mid-May (this is with the thermostat set at 64* during the day, and 55* at night). They’re not the only ones. My grandfather will most likely be moving in with them, because he can’t afford to heat his house.

When the price of basic living expenses (food, heating, etc) start going up, people start getting scared. Some people will struggle along with what they have, doing what they can, skimping where they have to. Other people resort to thievery. I know this sounds extreme, but it’s the truth and it’s sad.

We heat our home with both natural gas and a wood furnace. Like my parents we keep our house at 64* while we’re home and 55* at night and when we’re out. You can bet the wood furnace will be getting used more this winter than the gas (which is still a little cheaper than heating oil).

Our load of logs, that’s right a tractor trailer with 15’ trees on it, should be coming in the next week or so ($575, plus our time). Once we get that cut, split, and stacked we’ll hopefully get another load before the end of the summer, because you can guarantee that will be going up soon.

A fence has been something we’ve been deliberating, mainly because of our dogs and future children. We want them to be safe in our yard. The deliberation has ended: We’re building the fence next month. There is one other main reason for this, beyond the dogs/kids, security.

This is back to my previous comment on thievery. You can guarantee if things get bad enough (which they will) the dishonest people will start stealing whatever they can: Wood for heat, siphoning gas from home tanks and vehicles, other things that can be sold for money.

We’ll also be putting a lock on our hen house. Yes, we may be paranoid, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. You probably won’t see these things happening in more urban settings, but you will in rural settings. Those places were people believe that their possessions are secure.

The people who are already being victimized by these crimes are the people that I mentioned briefly before: The truckers and the small business owners. If you notice, a lot of tractor-trailers have locking gas caps on their tank, because people are siphoning fuel out of their 100-gallon tanks. My father went out and bought 2 on Monday, for his truck.

Tuesday, May 20


$8,300.00: Just think about that number, revel in all that you could do with that.

That was the estimate to fence in our yard: $6300 for supplies and $2000 for labor. What a joke! Matt called me at work and told me that number, I just started laughing. Needless to say, we're going to build the fence ourselves. We can get the same lumber for 1/2 the price (approx $2800) and the labor will be free! I can do with $3000 a lot better than $8300.

Here's some more pictures of the chickie-poos. They're starting to fly the coop now: We had to put a screen over top, because they're trying to escape. Chickens can only fly very poorly and only until they get bigger. When they're full size a chickens body is too large and cumbersome for their wings.

This coming weekend I am participating in a choral group at a Civil War Reenactment. We'll be in full Civil War Era attire and you can bet I'll be posting pictures.

And so it begins....(part 1)

$4.15. FOUR DOLLARS AND FIFTEEN CENTS! That’s right! That was the price of gas when I drove into work this morning. A bit scary, isn’t it?

I'm not one for political commentary because I don't have all the facts, I just know my thoughts (that's what this post is MY thoughts).

For the past few days I’ve been thinking…a lot…about the rising costs of everything. It doesn’t matter what it is, I can guarantee that the price of it has or will go up. There are several very unfortunate realities that come with this: 1) Fuel prices will continue to drive everything up, 2) People are going to become more desperate for things due to lack of money, and 3) There will never be another American revolution: despite how badly one is needed. I will discuss each of these in individually posts.

Part 1
1) It’s inevitable that the continual increases in fuel that things go up. The sad part, and the part most people don’t realize, is that they won’t come back down. The powers that be know that we will continue to pay, because in all honesty…we have to. Most of us don’t have the option to use public transport or carpool, and there are those of us who will continue to pay for convenience. If the market will bear the increase, then why drop the prices? Smart business.

The unfortunate reality is the effect that the continual fuel increases will have on the lower-middle and middle class people, the truckers, and the people who are self-employed: In essence, the people who have the least amount of flexible income.

My parents own their own business; that business is food; food gets delivered via trucks; which run on diesel. Right now my parents are paying $4.69 a gallon, in a truck that gets about 8 miles to the gallon, on a route that drives almost 1500 miles a week: $879.38!

You may be saying: “add a fuel surcharge”, “increase your prices”, or any other good ideas. You know what the vendors that they sell to say “take your stuff out of my cooler; I’ll get someone else in here.” You know who is sitting in the wings just waiting to jump at that customer: US Foodservice, Sysco, Maines, any of the humongous corporate food distributors: The ones who sell you an inferior product at the same price. That’s how they’re able to not “charge” a fuel surcharge. The vendor thinks they’re getting a deal.

The reality is they're not, and you're out of a stop, and ultimately out the 20% profit (which after your fuel, your labor [employees, not you], your truck, your business expenses, your cost of the product amounts to maybe 2% in your pocket, maybe: When the average gas-station deli is only $400, that’s not much money, but it’s money.

This is happening to anyone who relies on a vehicle to do their job. Currently the truckers in this country are being really hurt. Many independent truck companies have already gone under. There are many drivers who are working out of 2 log books (one their’s and the other a spouse’s) and driving 100+ hours a week, just so that they can barely make ends meet. They’ve gone on strike before; they may just do it again.

For the past few years, my parents have been swallowing the rising costs of fuel, increasing prices where they can. You know what their take home is a week? $250 each, for a 50-60 hour week (that works out to $4.50 an hour). It’s easy to say, “Maybe it’s time to close the business”, “maybe they should get regular jobs” or any other legitimate suggestion.

You ask the average small business owner if they want to close something that they’ve put a lot of work, time and money into. You ask them whether they want to go work for someone else. You ask them if they want to give up on something that was most likely a dream to them