Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Possible Tropical Storm .....

Image from Weatherwizkids.com
I heard on the news today that we have a possible tropical storm coming to our area this weekend.  While I had just gone to the grocery store on Sunday, there are a few things that I still need off our weekly grocery list.  I had hoped to wait until later in the week but I think I will go today or tomorrow and get the rest of the groceries on our list.

Where we live now I don't worry so much about flooding or having to leave our home in case of emergency, but I do worry about power outages.  We just got a stand alone freezer set up in our basement and I have started to fill it.  I also worry about having batteries and candles ready.  We have a wood burning fireplace and firewood so we don't have to worry about warmth if needed.  Right now, though it is still warm enough outside even at night that we won't have to do much more than throw another blanket on the beds if we need it.

So here is my checklist for this possible emergency:
____ Check lanterns and batteries.
____ Charge all electronics and spare battery chargers.
____ Back up computer files (just in case.... and is good to do it periodically anyway)
____ Restack firewood on the porch so it is further out of the rain and possibly tarp it to keep it dry.
____ Check deck furniture and put away any outside toys, furniture, equipment.
____ Pull out and check candles, globes, and candle holders.
____ Straighten and clean the house.  Pick up things off the floor, clear the steps of items. (No one wants to trip over something left on the ground at night with the power out.)
____ Check pantry for needed items and add to the grocery list.
____ Make last trip to the grocery store.

While it may seem counterintuitive to add more groceries (particularly refrigerated items) but I truly don't think we will lose electricity. If we do, it won't be for long.  I do know that I will have three teens home all day long and they like to eat.
We are currently out of bread, only have a half gallon of milk, and I like to keep stocked up on eggs.  All three of those will be on the list.  I also will pick up a case of water. One can never have too much water.

We have only one dog and I just bought her dog food recently so she has enough for several weeks at this point.  The only other thing she needs is water and to be taken out from time to time, even in a storm.  The only things I need to prep for her is to make sure my rain coat or poncho is ready for rainy/windy walks.  But I still like to remember pets when prepping for an emergency.  Her leash is hanging by the door and her shots are up to date.

Even though this might turn out to be nothing more than rain, I do still want to be prepared.  It also gives me an excuse to clean the house, straighten things up and begin to think about winter storms and supplies.

It began raining today.  Not thunderstorms but just episodes of torrential downpours!  The lights began to flicker so the kids and I pulled out the camping lanterns and a few candles and a flashlight.  Boy do we need to replace some of our stuff.  Both camping lanterns are so weak in light.  Not even enough to read with.  I will be replacing these both tomorrow.  We also need size D batteries as well as AA and AAA.

So check out your equipment prior to the emergency.  Don't just wait until you need to use them.  Test them out and make sure everything is in working order.  Replace them periodically.  Our lanterns still work but the lightbulbs are low which means that it is probably on its last legs.  Mind you, we will still use these until they completely die but I do want to get some more lanterns that will give us enough light to work by.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Shamelessly eating out. Budget style!

We LOVE to eat out.  I mean L.O.V.E. it!  So last night we went to Olive Garden.  We love their salads. We love their breadsticks. We love their soups. We love their pastas.

Right now they are having my favorite sale.  It is the buy a pasta get a pasta to take home deal.  So we went.

Each of the 5 of us got pasta.  One of us doesn't like salad so she gets the soup.  The rest of us get the salad.

At the end of the meal the waitress brings out the big bag with our pastas that we get to take home.  We box up our leftovers.  This includes a few leftovers from our meals and leftover salad and leftover soup. Did you know that the salads are unlimited?  If you want to bring some home for leftovers just ask for another salad and ask that they put the dressing on the side for this one.  Each what you want and then bring home the rest.  Also the soup is unlimited too. Again just ask for another bowl and bring home the leftovers.

Tonight we had our pasta meals we brought home and salad.
Tomorrow we will have leftovers for lunch.  These are leftovers from last night in the restaurant and leftovers from tonight.

That makes three meals for us from one.  We virtually "ate out" three times!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

What a difference a year makes...

Last year in August we moved back to our hometown, feeling beaten.  We had just a little money to live on.  My husband began working immediately for a friend of his working in his mulch yard. He was selling mulch, loading it for customers, etc.  It was a little money.  He also started his own lawn care business.  He got a little business throughout the fall, aerations, leaf work, etc.  I was working at Michaels as much as I could.

Money dwindled fast.  We were rubbing pennies together.

In December, a friend of my husband asked if he could help him out for a bit of time. His father was ill and he needed to go tend to him out of state.  He asked if my husband would run his lawn care business while he was away. He didn't know when he would return.  Of course, my husband said yes.  He worked hard all through December which helped us get through Christmas.  The winter was tough but my husband continued to help out his friend when he needed help. We scraped together pennies from here and there.

In February we instituted a "no spend month".  While it was consciously hard to not spend money at all, it wasn't as hard as we thought because we really didn't have much money to spend anyway.  It also snowed in February, twice!  That meant that my husband was able to shovel snow and make some money.

March came and we were given the news that my husband's friend's father had passed away. My husband again came to the aide of his friend and helped out with his business, all the while working his jobs on the side.

In April, my husband's friend announced that he was going to move out of state and asked my husband if he wanted to buy his lawn care business.  They drew up papers and by the end of the month we were running a fully operating lawn care service again.  We merged his business into my husband's existing small business.

From there we have been cruising.  This summer we have been able to go out to eat more, pay off a ton of bills (more money than I want to think about) and over Labor Day weekend we actually went on VACATION!

Now instead of wondering where the money will come from (well we still worry), we have employee issues.  It is pretty sad that our best employee is our 16 year old son.  We have one other guy who works for us now, since my son is focusing on his schoolwork now. He is a great employee and had worked for my husband on a very part time basis for years.  Now he is fulltime and filling in the gap that our son left.

Each September seems to be the start of a new year in my eyes.   I am excited about this year and the possibilities it holds.  The bills are getting paid and slowly we are starting get the kids back into the activities they enjoyed years ago.  It is comforting to know that we can pay the bills!

Looking back on this past year I am reconfirmed in my marriage.  I have chosen my best partner. He is such a hard worker.  He is positive, loving, and supportive.  He will do anything for us!  He is adventurous and willing to consider pretty much anything, crazy or not.