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Archive for April, 2008

Lovebugs....

April 23rd, 2008 at 10:14 pm

While I was growing up, a wonderful fixture of evening was fireflies or as in the South--lightning bugs. Moving further south to the more tropical zones, I missed the little bugs. Then, we encountered a new little evening bug. The Lovebug. Harmless little creatures "floating" in the air joined at the hip (so to speak) in pairs. Then, I found out the hazards. Don't talk too much outside because you can breathe in or swallow bugs. And, the little buggers take the paint off your car. It is especially bad if you drive for some reason out in the countryside. Your car gets plastered by hundred of bugs, and if you don't wash them off timely, they will remove the paint. I didn't know if it was an old wives' tale because Hubby kept the cars washed. I found that it was true when I had to stash my car inside the garage during Hurricane Rita evacuation without washing off the cloud of bugs I'd been through. Several weeks later, I returned and washed off the car and the paint came off the front with the bugs.

I mowed the grass last night toward the evening hours to catch the coolness and because we finally figured out what was wrong with the lawnmower. I was mowing through the grass with the little critters floating around me about knee high at that time of day. They look so peaceful floating along. (Although they are really flapping their little wings like crazy.) We like to tease that the female is the one dragging the males along. The female is having to do most of the work it seems. At least, I've been told the big ones are female. With Hubby still not being able to wash vehicles for awhile because of surgery, I know that, economically, twice a year in spring and fall, I need to make sure that I keep all little buggies off the car. Or anything else. Or I'll eventually have to repaint the thing....

Rolling In The Dough--Recipe

April 20th, 2008 at 06:58 pm

Here's the recipe that Disneysteve and Creditcardfree asked for yesterday. I sure hope I can get this across right! I used a West Bend bread machine that makes either one pound or one and one half pound loaves. I just used the dough cycle for the first time.

Recipe for Pizza Dough

One Pound loaf size

5/8 to 3/4 cup of water (heated to between 90 and 100 degrees)
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil (I was out and used a combination with olive oil and it worked just fine)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour (I was surprised at not using bread flour, but all purpose worked just fine.)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (I used bread machine yeast)

Make dough in bread machine. At beep, remove dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured countertop or cutting board. Form dough into a mound and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

Grease one 14-inch pizza pan. (I just stretched it to fit on a pizza stone that I had preheated in the oven.) With hands, gently stretch and press dough to fit evenly into pan. Pinch dough around the edge to form a small rim.
Spread your favorite pizza sauce on top of the dough, then add toppings of your choice, EXCEPT cheese. Put in preheated oven at 450 degrees.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese the last 5 minutes of baking. When cheese melts, remove from oven, slice into wedges, and serve hot.

One and one-half pound loaf

7/8 to 1 cup water (heated)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Grease one deep dish pizza pan or two 12 inch pizza pans. Make a small rim for 12 inch pans, for deep dish, press dough halfway up the sides of the pan.

I have another recipe for whole wheat pizza dough. I'll let you know how that turns out!

Rolling In The Dough....

April 19th, 2008 at 02:50 pm

I've had a craving for pizza for a month or so. With a coupon, Hubby and I can get a pizza fairly cheap and eat on it for three days or so. But, I had a couple of veggies hanging around to use up and a bread machine....

I surprised myself. I made pizza dough. Used on sale veggies, sauce and cheese. Dusted off the ole pizza stone--literally. I was trying to remember WHY I even had one. I think the kids used to bake frozen mini pizzas on it or something. I screwed up the timer and almost burnt it, but saved it and the end effect was pretty yummy. It smelled so good cooking that we had a hard time waiting on it to cool down enough to eat.

We probably don't save that much over the way we usually eat pizza. But, this one was WAY less greasy. More veggies on it. Probably healthier. At any rate, it wasn't as hard to do as I thought it would be to make. And, we love pizza. We could add Pizza Night to our Fridays or something. This could be the start of something yummy....

Monday Again....?

April 15th, 2008 at 07:40 pm

Today is Tuesday, but to me it is Monday. I've been confused all day. Hubby wasn't feeling well yesterday and worked from home, so with his normal alternate Friday off, we had a four-day weekend. So, today is Monday...sort of.

Also, I totally forgot today was April 15. I'm so glad it has been mentioned because I was headed to the post office to mail a couple of packages. Forget it. Our little post office has about ten parking spaces and usually a line. Today, it will be a zoo.

We did much better on our budget and challenge this month. If you don't count the Easter/birthday celebration trip. I included it in the Other Holiday/Birthday funds, but those funds have been decimated and need to be revived a bit. Actually, the Birthday Fund is limping along, but the Other Holiday Fund is so far gone that it needs a transfusion.

We've gotten refunds from the oral surgeon for most of the amount of DD's wisdom tooth surgery. I get to put the Dental Fund back on its feet. The dental insurance for the surgery was so much better than regular tooth stuff. Go figure...but I'm not complaining...I'm tickled!

I haven't made much headway on that credit card, have I? Focus, Jan, focus....

He LIKES It...

April 14th, 2008 at 09:41 pm

Remember Mikey and the Life commercial? I've been playing with several varieties of bread in the bread machine. I've never really liked the taste of store bread and don't eat it very much. So, at least a half of a loaf of bread at a time went to waste unless I froze it for something else. I really do like homemade bread, though, but the trick was to see if Hubby would eat it. He doesn't like trying too many new things, and his likes and dislikes are pretty much set in stone. His likes are limited. In the last few years, we've all gotten him to try some new things, and he's found out that he likes more than he thought. So, I've been encouraging him to try the homemade bread, mostly by not buying any other. He's kinda stuck. He's actually admitting to liking the bread...as long as it doesn't have apples or raisins. I love both, so I am making some plainer varieties, too. I held my breath after I finally switched to a more whole wheat variety for him. He LIKED it! He's eaten almost the whole loaf. And no complaining. I am shocked. I am now redoing a whole section of cabinets to hold the flours and such for making the bread in the machine. I don't think I'll be looking back. Now, if I could only get him to like peas....

Every Little Bit....

April 9th, 2008 at 04:41 pm

helps the bottom line! I got a weird medical bill in the bunch for Hubby's surgery. Three x-rays that were billed to us, but no insurance payments. Instead, it said something about maxed benefits. I checked it out online with the insurance site and couldn't find this bill anywhere. I looked at the other bill from this place and nothing on it resembled these charges. I called the insurance company to see if they could find it. The bill wasn't really huge--150.00 dollars--but that is a chunk of a credit card payment that I could make. The insurance people were really cool. I told them all the particulars including the codes on there. They said I didn't have any maxed benefits on x-rays so it didn't make sense to them either. They called the company, then told me that it was a bill already on their list at another amount and the company has left off some codes so the whole thing will go back through the system. I just might have saved us over 100 dollars. Right now, trying to pay off debt with costs rising, that 100 or so dollars looks really good. I'm glad the folks here and on the forums have talked about questioning things we don't understand. I am trying to become more aware of everything.

We are trying to combat the higher cost of food by eating less. We've been stretching our meals. They aren't fancy, but they fill us up. Hopefully, it will also translate into losing that 10 pounds apiece that we need to lose. I'm trying to do this and eat healthy food at the same time. I about fell over when eggs reached 2.00 here. We feel like we were back in college and had to really limit the amount of groceries bought in a week. At least we have experience in this. Who knew that being broke when newly married would come in handy one day.

I would really like to try my hand at raising some kind of vegetable. I used to help my Dad in the gardens all the time. But, this is a different kind of soil and climate. And, he has a green thumb and I don't. I think I will try one kind at a time so I don't break the bank killing so many plants. Something that will grow in spite of me.....

Seeing the Light.....

April 7th, 2008 at 06:34 pm

I leave most lights off during the day since we have large windows. And, this time of year, it is quite bright out there in this part of the world. I never wore sunglasses until I moved here. Now, I can't leave the house without them. So, I do most things without any lights on. Hubby is the opposite. I can come in during the weekend and find him asleep on the couch with all the lights on. Of course, he often gets up around 5 or 6 am, and I guess he might need the lights then. And, then he falls asleep without realizing that he's burning electricity. And, it gets hot in there with them on.

We have a bathroom in the middle of the house that has no windows. But, the bathroom at the back has one with blinds. I've turned the blinds downward so that a little of the light comes in, and that way, I don't have to turn on lights. I didn't realize something until last week...you don't need the lights to take a shower in there either. Well, duh.... The only time I really need to turn them on is makeup time. Changing these habits is not that bad...if you just realize what the habit is....

Hubby finally caught me emptying my bucket of water onto the porch plants this weekend. So, I explained my plan of using the water from the shower warmup to avoid wasting it and saving some money. As expected, the look was priceless. I also explained that I don't have to get the hose out, and I don't have to work so hard with the little watering can. I can use this water every day on plants and such and no waste. He'll get used to the idea. But, I do think he thinks it is one of my weirder saving ones. He's probably not going to do this one himself, but he's not going to rain on my parade....

RIP.....

April 2nd, 2008 at 08:47 pm

My 27 year old dryer just died. No warning whatsoever. Just a large bang, and it was gone. Probably a belt or something. I think I'll just replace it since it is so very old. And inefficient, I'm sure. I've got some money I can use. The problem is the ability to get it done. Hubby can't help me get one into the house right now, so I will have to have one delivered. That way they can remove the old one, too. But, until I can get that done, I am without a dryer. And, boy, do we need it for the sheets and work clothes that I need to dry. Otherwise, I'll be ironing till the cows come home. Right now, I have socks laying everywhere. I'm going to get a drying rack tonight. I usually hang my stuff to dry anyway, but the dogs' bedding and our king-sized bedding will be a pain. Oh well, it's not that I didn't expect it sometime. Just wish it had waited until the summer. I sure hope this has a silver lining.....