Sunday, January 27, 2008

Feast or Famine

Being self-employed has it's positives and negatives. For Jerry and I, the positives far outweigh the negatives and so we choose this. For me, working from home and when I want gives me the freedom to homeschool Andy and to do what I want, when I want. For the most part Jerry has the same freedom, too. Besides - I have never really taken well to authority - ask my mom! Oh, I am a hard worker and can do what needs to be done after someone has told me what to do, but then leave me alone so that I can do it! Jerry is the same way. The downside of our jobs is that there is no steady paycheck coming in week after week. I refer to the state of our finances as "feast or famine" - we either seem to be in one or the other. Seldom are we in the middle for very long. Right now we are in the "famine" stage! With homebuilding crawling along, Jerry's work has slowed down. For me the doctors have been on what seems like an extended vacation since Thanksgiving and work for me still isn't very brisk. I have asked for more work, but then again so have all the other transcriptionists, and there is only so much to go around. At least we're used to it by now. I find it a challenge to see how long we can make something last, or just how far we can stretch that dollar. Jerry was watching me make bread the other day and commented that I actually seemed to like this kind of thing!

While we have basically been cheap frugal for a while now, sometimes we aren't as frugal as we really should be. But we're still having fun! Some of these things we really should have been doing all along, but just got lazy. We were not going to use the woodstove this year as we were a little afraid of using it. It is about 28 years old now and has gotten pretty thin. We changed our mind about this after receiving our first electric bill after having used the heat pump only. Jerry checked the woodstove out thoroughly and decided we could eke another year out of it. Now that's the only thing heating the house. I love that woodstove and that's why we've had it so long. It heats this whole house. Sometimes it gets too hot and we need to open a door or window!

Right now as I'm typing this I have four loaves' worth of bread dough rising. I was making a loaf at a time for the last couple of weeks by working the dough in my bread machine and then taking it out and shaping it into a loaf and baking it, but it's too time consuming doing it one loaf at a time. There have been times that I've just gone ahead and let the bread machine bake a loaf, but the loaves are too big for sandwiches. I prefer to just let it go through the dough cycle and take over from there. Something else I have done was make sourdough starter. That's really good bread! Unfortunately, my starter kind of fizzled out last week, but at least I got a few good loaves out of it. I made a new starter this morning and so far it grew up and out of the container and I had to put it in a larger container, so I think this starter will be okay, but it won't be ready to use until at least Tuesday. For anyone on a low carb diet, I realize that daily bread isn't a good thing, but for those of us on a financial diet, bread is versatile and filling. And you just can't beat a grilled cheese sandwich made on homemade sourdough bread! Meals are more carefully planned and everything is made from scratch. And I do mean everything! Also, milk is only used for coffee. If it's needed for baking or if the boys want me to make a pot of hot chocolate, it's with powdered milk. I also made the happy discovery that I can make the equivalent of Dunkin' Donuts cinnamon spice coffee! After much experimenting (it didn't go to waste - even the experiments tasted good!), I finally think I found the right combination. I put four coffee scoops of regular coffee, two teaspoons of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of allspice into a coffee grinder. Yes, the coffee is already ground to start with, but you need to grind it again to thoroughly incorporate the spices or it will just end up running through and you will have a layer of what looks like chalk on top of your coffee. Yuck! Anyway, I pulse the coffee grinder three times, for five seconds each. Then I dump the whole batch into the coffee filter, breaking up any clumps that might be there. This makes an 8-cup pot. It has become a favorite now.

Anyway, this has certainly turned into a long post! Now I think I'm going to take some more pictures of more stuff I'd like to list on eBay. Unfortunately the books I had listed before didn't sell, so I'll lower the price and relist them. They are not doing anything for me but taking up space here. Not to mention that every little bit helps with the finances. I also received an email from the homeschool magazine that I subscribe to and they and another homeschooling publishing company are looking for people for editing projects, to work from home. You can bet I responded to them as soon as I saw the email. I'm such a stickler for grammer and spelling anyway, that I figured this would certainly be a good match for me and it would be something I could do in addition to transcription. We'll see how it goes. I'm not worried about anything as I know that the Lord is taking care of all the details of our lives, including our finances. But I also know that being wasteful with money is not pleasing to Him, and so I'll do my part, and let Him do His. Well, right now a huge batch of bread dough is calling, so more later.

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