I thought that since I really need to take a minute and just sit still blogging would be a good thing to do right now. I've been cleaning and baking all day so far and I'm still trying to recover from a really nasty cold/sinus/respiratory kind of bug so we'll just call this a break. I promised a couple of people that I would try really hard to keep this thing updated a bit better so I guess now is as good a time as I'll get.
It finally got really good and cold here. No snow or any of the mess that y'all back home are having to deal with but it's really cold!! Wouldn't you know that on the coldest night of the winter for us we run out of heating oil in the furnace....that is just sooooo me and Troy that we laughed so hard while talking about it that the kids came running down the hall last night to see what was going on. We had just put oil in the tank not too long ago....in fact we were praising the Lord for the overtime that Troy had been working at the end of the year because without it we most likely wouldn't have been able to afford to get all that oil (it runs around $3 a gallon with a minimum 100 gallon requirement).There must be some kind of problem with the furnace because there just can't be any way that we've used it all already...but we'll get it dealt with and get more oil soon. For now we are using electric heaters and some good friends of ours were so generous to bring us a truckload of firewood for the fireplace so we are staying reasonably warm.
As Troy and I went to bed last night we couldn't help but remember all the weird 'can only happen to us' kind of stuff that we've gone through in the years we've spent together. We got to laughing and the kids came in so we had to tell them some of it too....like:
- Right after Taeler was born on the coldest night of the year our furnace died so Troy and I hung quilts over all the doorways to close off every room but the kitchen and bathroom that was right off the kitchen and put electric heaters in there and just lived in the kitchen for a week and a half until the landlord fixed the furnace. We didn't panic over it, just did what we had to do and enjoyed it.
- The first winter that we homeschooled Taeler our house developed severe electrical problems during a snow/ice storm that required the electricity to be disconnected at the meter for 2 weeks. We studied noah's ark with Taeler and used oil lamps and kerosene heaters and shared two rooms of the house during the whole time and had a blast doing it.
- The first winter that Troy and I were together we lived way out in the sticks and the car was dead so we were kind of stranded for a few days. We had a monopoly marathon then played spoons for cookies and told stories to Joshua and Jessi. We never once wished to be anywhere else.
- There was a tornado that went through Canton when we lived there and destroyed most of the town. We were out of power for nearly a week so I taught Troy how to cook in an open fire and taught Taeler how to do laundry outside the way that we did when I was a kid (with a washboiler and washboard). We worked in the garden and played lots of "what if you were a frontier family" games. We were almost disappointed when the electricity got fixed.
While it isn't convenient to be without the furnace right now it is far from something we can consider to be a bad situation....it always kind of shocks us how easily some people get upset by the little curves life throws at us. The kids had great fun sitting on the livingroom floor last night pretending they were living on a homestead "out on the frontier".
The talk around the house for the last week or more has been all about bees. Taeler is so excited about the beekeeping classes, so is the rest of the family but for Tae this is a dream come true. She has wanted to keep bees since she was 7 years old and it is finally in the plans for her. One of my good friends loaned us her van to go to the classes in and Taeler even gets to take her good friend to the classes with her! I'm scared of bees, but I love honey so I'm excited too. (still telling myself "I will not be scared of bees" over and over)
Troy and I are in the process of going over all of our budget and bills and stuff to see what needs to be fixed, changed or let go. So far we have figured out that the house phone company has been overcharging us for over a year! Hopefully Troy will be able to get them to refund at least some of the overpayment. We are also going to cut out a lot of the 'extra' stuff on the home phone like the unlimited long distance service since now we don't use the home phone so much to call folks back home and we can get long distance for pennies a minute for when we do. Troy is helping me try to figure out the best way to cut back on the electric bill a bit more too since it seems to be the biggest one.
I'm still working on tuning up my grocery budget and have made lots of great progress there. Two websites I really like for help with all of that kind of penny pinching are www.budget101.com and www.thriftyfun.com Both of them have awesome information that has saved us bunches. We are ready to start planting more stuff in the garden too....and this year it won't be going into sad looking nearly white sand thanks to my chickens. Those chickens can turn leaves and grass clippings into wonderful fertilizer in no time flat! We are going to order more chickens this spring for the eggs.....we want more eggs, hopefully enough for us to even sell some of them. Soon we'll have rabbit meat too!
Tonight's supper is a spicy rice and bean bog. Super cheap and relatively easy to make. Jessi and Josh remember them well I'm sure since we used to eat it all the time when I was in college. Just take two chicken leg quarters and toss them in a pot full of water...add some cayenne pepper and garlic and salt, boil the chicken till it starts to fall off the bone. Then pull the bones and skin out and tear the meat up into little pieces and toss the meat back into the broth. Then you dump in the rice, a little less than half as much rice as you have broth. While that is simmering you take some butter in a skillet, just a tablespoon or two, and toss in some finely chopped onion, a little more garlic and saute till the the onion is transparent...then toss in a handfull of green beans or peas or already cooked chili beans or black beans. Stir all of that into the rice/broth/meat mixture and finish cooking. Add extra seasoning to taste. Depending on what we put in the dish we top it off with cheese or sour cream or just more salt and pepper.
Well, the kids are getting a little too rowdy and I need to go settle them down. I'm still not feeling really good so I better take some more cold medicine and lay down for a few minutes....Caleb needs to do some more reading anyway so I can lay there and listen. Y'all have a great day!