Category Archives: Finance

iPhone vs. Android

This weekend was full of almost nothing but becoming re-acquainted with my iPhone.  Back in July, my iPhone 6 plus’s camera decided to start producing only out of focus shots, and if there’s one thing I have to have almost more than a phone is a camera.  The BH had previously bought me a Samsung Note 4 to try.  I did for a couple months, but I wound up going back to the iPhone since that’s what I’m most comfortable with and find to be most user friendly.  I feel that Androids are made for more technical people and I am NOT anywhere near technical.  Truth be known, it’s probably all in what you’re used to.  When androids first came out, we tried a tablet and it was horrendous.  It was so slow!  But I will say – they’ve come a long way and in a lot of ways have surprisingly surpassed the Apple.

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Now I know there are people who are Android fans and they wouldn’t dare go near an iPhone, but that’s not me.  I do think that Apple has done a backslide in every way, shape and form since Steve Jobs died.  They definitely are not keeping up with or outpacing Androids any longer.  If they are going to have any hope of staying out in front (which I believe is a very very small margin at this point), they are going to have to build a better product and perhaps, get back to a little more reasonable customer service.  You can tell that their customers are NOT their top priority and that’s extremely disappointing, without us they have nothing.

The two previous iphones that we’ve had (both 6+), have not been up to par – at all.  And I wouldn’t go anywhere near a 7.  With that being said, I think the iPhone 6 plus is a great phone, however, it doesn’t hold up long enough and the warranty isn’t good enough to justify such a huge expense.  Apple really needs to back its product with something other than $125 for insurance and then MORE money on top of that to repair it.  That’s a bit much considering these things are over $500 as it is.  That’s theft.  Morally, I’d drop Apple in a heartbeat.  But realistically with only these two options, my choice is the iPhone, hands down.

Thoughts?  What’s your choice and why?  Have a great day everyone!

xoxo

 

I Hit the Soup Jackpot with This One!

“Man may work from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done” this fits my life recently…this is exactly the way I feel.  I spent all last week cleaning house and very little time doing much else.  I try not to do things half heartedly or half @ssed as I like to say, so cleaning is so much more than wiping a counter or swiping the brush around the toilet bowl.  Cleaning is all that plus re-organizing, de-cluttering, moving furniture, re-arranging, and then all the basics – dusting, mopping, vacuuming, etc.  It’s at least a three day job the way I go about it and that’s ok.  It’s very rewarding, I genuinely feel accomplished when it’s all said and done – AND not to mention, Goodwill loves me afterwards!

I finished house cleaning on Thursday and Friday was spent running errands here and there.  I polled my friends on FB to ask their favorite home decor store and surprisingly the majority said Target.  Really?  Hmmm.  I hit one of my favorites Tuesday Morning, they opened a brand new updated store here in town and it’s great!  I know I spent almost 3 hours in there just looking at everything!  I found some awesome buys too!

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I spent the weekend mainly recovering and cooking.  However, Sunday afternoon, the youngest and I tackled her closet.  That job took about 4 hours give or take, but we managed a bag of trash and a bag of Goodwill donations, plus a few dresses to put on our local flea market/yard sale site.  The best part – it’s done and won’t have to be done again for a while!  My OCD occasionally gets the better of me and I have to infiltrate and do it my way.  I can only allow it to go so long without my “expertise”.

Yesterday, I straightened up from the weekend, ran the vacuum through again and did the laundry.  I was thrilled and thought, well for the week, I’m good to go!  Last evening, we had soccer practice, I won’t mention who exactly, but someone decided to put their mud caked cleats on and walk through the newly vacuumed house…grrrrr.  This morning, I politely asked them to re-vacuum their steps to suck up said mud.  I was determined to sit and catch up this morning before running off again.

Saturday, I did my routine of cleaning out the fridge and freezer in anticipation of our regularly scheduled weekend grocery shopping trip, but after surveying the situation I figured we could make it at least another week on what we had so we postponed.  In the fridge, I found a head of cauliflower and a leek that I’d bought.  For the life of me, I have no inkling of what I was going to do with them or even where I’d gotten the idea, so to use them before they went bad, I did a little search on the internet and found a soup recipe.  Well, let me just tell you – DE-LISH-E-O-SO!!  If you like tasty, creamy, and good for you – MAKE THIS RECIPE!  I followed the original recipe with a few tweaks since a lot of people said the original was bland.  I add salt throughout the cooking process until I was happy with the flavor and didn’t think it was bland at all.  It was a hit!

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Low-Carb Cauliflower Leek Soup 
Adapted From All Recipes

2 T. olive oil
3 T. Land O’Lakes light butter
1 leek, cut into slices
1 large head cauliflower, chopped
1 med – large onion, chopped
3 – 4 cloves garlic, chopped
8 cups Swanson vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. light sour cream

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat and saute the leeks, cauliflower, onion and garlic for about 10 minutes.  Stir in vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil.  Add salt if necessary.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  Taste again and add more salt if needed.

Remove the soup from heat.  Blend the soup with an immersion blender.  Season with salt & pepper.  Mix in sour cream and continue blending until smooth.

The fact that this soup was almost nothing but veggies, the fact that everyone liked it including my extra picky, I-don’t-like-any-vegetables daughters, the fact that it was just as good the next day, yeah – you have to try this!  I really was shocked at how yummy this soup was.

When my oldest first tried it, she said, “I don’t know whether I like that or not.  Don’t tell me what’s in it.”  I said, “It’s bacon & cheese.”  She didn’t question it.  My youngest said, “Mmm, that’s good.  What’s in it?”, all the while shoveling it in her mouth.  I told her the ingredients (she can’t stand onions and garlic) and she said, “You know, if you had told me that before I wouldn’t have eaten it.”  I said, “I know.”  She willingly ate two bowls, plus two bowls the next day – of vegetables, that she KNEW were vegetables.  <Insert evil laugh here>  Makes a mother proud!!

I’d better run, it’s almost 10 a.m. and I have a lemon cake to make!  Keep your floors clean and your soup warm!  Have a great Tuesday everyone!

xoxo

In Defense of Mondays

I don’t think I’ve ever been one of those people that complained about Mondays, even when I had a job.  Monday always seem like the perfect days to start something…a diet, spring cleaning, trouble, ya know, it always feels like a fresh start to me.  Kinda like New Year’s but better since there’s lots more of them.  This morning though, has felt like anything but a fresh start.  It feels pretty much like the last 3 weeks.  I’m complaining about the same things and not changing them, I still have the same chores on my list and not completing them, another day to just be stagnant.  But, hey – at least I have an ability to complain about it to the www.  Maybe some of you can commiserate.

This morning was like any other until about a hour ago when my oldest daughter flew into the room to ask if I’d take her to school.  I said, no.  She then proceeded to let me know she’d woken up “2 minutes ago”.  My oldest is now a sophomore.  I woke her up at 5:45 a.m. as I usually do.  It’s now my fault she didn’t wake up.  I don’t believe in babying your children.  I believe in loving them and caring for them and being available when they need you, but I think I’m doing a (dis)service by waking them up at all.  They both have alarms.  I need to start making them set them and wake up by them.  Today I need to purchase an air horn.  Forget this responsibility thing laying on my shoulders and me being blamed.  Nah…ain’t doin’ it.

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This weekend we went to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet.  I absolutely love, love this store!!  For me, it’s like Christmas every time we go!  The deals are SO good that easily it could become addictive shopping.  Luckily it’s on the other side of town so I’m not too inclined to drive over too often. They have good deals on spices and foods sometimes, lots of processed which I’ve cut down on, but I’ve found Hellman’s Light Mayo there for less than half price of a regular jar!  Deals on toiletries, housewares, kitchenware, pet supplies, you name it, they pretty much have a variation of it.  The draw for me is the same every time.  I go there to buy cookbooks, because I just don’t have enough (insert copious amounts of sarcasm).  Books in general are my weakness, but I’ve slacked off from buying just any ole books.  But cookbooks…those are a different story.  And I don’t really understand my logic, because pretty much any recipe you could or would need, want, think of, etc. is on the internet!  However, that doesn’t seem to matter.  I go to Ollie’s and they have hundreds of cookbooks…just look at this…I behaved myself when I only bought these…

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and look at the prices?!?  How can you say no.  The deal is just too good!

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$16 for what could have potentially been $50!?!?  Yeah, too good to pass up!  After bringing these babies home, last night I made my first recipe from the Fix It and Enjoy It Healthy Cookbook.  Here it is:

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Herb Marinated Steak

1/4 c. chopped onion
2 T. fresh parsley
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. olive oil
2 t. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. London Broil (I used skirt steak, couldn’t find London Broil)

Combine onion, parsley, vinegar, oil, mustard and garlic in a bowl.  

Place steak in a sturdy plastic bag.  Add onion mixture, spreading it on both sides of the meat.  Close bag securely.

Place filled bag in a long dish in case of any leaks.  Marinate in refrigerator 6-8 hours or overnight.  Turn it over at least once while marinating.  

Pour off marinade.  Place steak on rack in broiler pan so meat is about 5″ from heat source.  Broil about 6-8 minutes on each side for rare, 9 minutes on each side for medium.

When finished broiling, allow meat to stand for 10 minutes.  

Then carve diagonally across the grain into thin slices.   

I did grill ours instead of broiling.  It was really good.  Everyone ate well, but did comment that the skirt steak had too much fat, so lesson learned.

Well, I’m going to try to get through the day without too much discourse.

Have a great Monday everyone!

xoxo

Houston, I Think We Have a Problem

They say you can’t change an addiction until you acknowledge it.  Well, right here and right now, I’m acknowledging – I have had, in the past, and maybe currently, just a slight addiction, compulsion to – recipes, cookbooks, food, the grocery store, and maybe even to…dare I say it, eating.  Oh and trust me when I say, these aren’t ALL my obsessions, these are just the right now, most obvious, in my face ones.

I’ve been addicted to cigarettes and alcohol and people and spending money and collecting things and organizing and cleaning, some say I have an a addiction to my cell phone <rolls eyes>, but aside from all that, the proof is in the pudding when I tell you about my obsession with all things kitchen, cooking and food related.  I think I may even have an issue with kitchenware, although I do usually draw the line when it comes to say, expensive stuff.  I’m a Corelle kinda girl, but even though I now cook more often (although I see my cooking days being numbered considering the older the better half and I get, the less we are so inclined to eat and in only a few more years the girls will be in college and may or may not be living at home any longer) I just can’t justify spending thousands of dollars on Le Creuset cookware, well maybe a piece or two…but I digress.

These fantastic cookbook magazines that I have been hoarding  collecting for years now are stored in a bin in our basement storage room.  When I moved from my childhood home in 2010, I gave away hundreds of books, magazines and cookbooks.  Boxes and boxes were carted off.  When we moved into this house in 2012, I again went through them and threw out even more (I actually NEVER throw them away, I donate them or sell them.  I believe it’s an abomination to throw away books of any kind!).  I have to admit, it was like pulling teeth, throwing out old friends!  I told my daughters to hand me a cookbook – allow me just a few seconds to thumb through it and then force me to make a decision to keep it or get rid of it.  It worked, I cut the pile down substantially.  But, lo and behold, I still have a bunch.  For the last 4 years, they’ve been stashed in that bin on a shelf collecting dust.  I have added to the bin a few times, but I haven’t even looked inside once to find a recipe!  I wonder what the point is to keeping these if I NEVER use them?  I haven’t quite figured that one out…

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I pulled the bin out this past weekend, but felt so crummy I decided to do something that I could do sitting down instead.  This morning with everyone gone to work and school, I decided to go through them.  Wow – my mind is spinning!  I want to read and make every recipe…NOW.  LOL

Just the other day, when I was starting to feel like I was coming down with this cold, I told my girls we were having grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken soup for dinner.  They immediately came back with,”you have ALL those cookbooks downstairs and we’re having grilled cheese sandwiches and soup again?!”  Grrrrr…  So in the spirit of actually using what I have collected and stored over the years, I’m going to choose three or four books per week and make a few recipes out of each one and post them here, if they’re worthy.  Nowadays most of my recipes come from the Internet, but my guess is, most came from books just like these.  I purchased most of these recipes fair & square so I might as well benefit somehow from them – right?!?  LOL  Oh, if I had a dollar…….

Here’s what I’ll be working with this week…

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I’ll also plug the recipes into myfitnesspal to see the nutrition info and post it along with the recipe.  This should help with my so called “dieting” I’m supposed to be doing!  I’ve been to the grocery store already so some recipes I may have to wing, but I’ll do my best to keep them the same.

In organizing these this a.m., I found an extra…if you’re interested, e-mail me and I’ll send it to you.

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Why I Can’t Clean My House Better Than Strangers

It’s funny how you become accustomed to things and develop a behavior that shows how much you take for granted.  Recently, I have been assessing our finances since they’ve gone a bit awry.  In doing so,  I agreed that one of the first expenses that could go should be the housekeeping service.  I mean I am home all day, it’s not like this house is so huge I couldn’t possibly keep it clean.  I keep it clean pretty much anyway as the housekeepers only come once a month.  I like them coming because it’s nice to have it all done at once.  I do it piecemeal and like today, I find that, well, that I just…I just can’t clean my house better than they can.

I usually start at the “working” end of the house, the laundry room, mud room, 1/2 bath and kitchen and work my way through to the bedrooms.  For the housekeeping service, it takes two women, two and a half hours to clean the entire house.  Based upon that and my crappy math skills, I can then deduce it should only take me about 4 hours total to clean the house in it’s entirety.  But, in fact, it takes me at least two hours to do only a quarter of the house and approximately 2-3 days to clean the entire house!   And here’s why…

In the laundry room, I have to dust all surfaces, wipe the blinds down and wipe the window sill.  I have to clean the exterior washer and dryer with windex, wipe them down entirely, clean out the filter and wipe out the seals, make sure the doors are wiped free of hair, paper, or whatever remnants someone’s left in their pockets that week and vacuum the dryer vent and make sure there’s nothing blocking the filter.  Then I pull out the drawer underneath to wipe the top of it and see that there’s something spilled inside, so I have to remove all items in the drawer and wipe that out.  I then have to change rags, because there’s detergent all over the rag and I certainly can’t wipe anything else with a soapy rag.  I realize since I have the drawer emptied to wipe up the spill, I might as well remove it completely so I can vacuum the rest of the floor underneath the drawer.  I find a loose battery that someone’s let roll under the washer and set it on the counter.  I put everything back neatly in the drawer, then open the cabinet to put the battery where it goes.  I notice that there’s some dirt/dust in the bottom of the cabinet where the batteries go, so I empty out the cabinet that holds the batteries and other sundries, I rearrange the plastic bin that holds the batteries, wipe out the cabinet fully and then replace all items into that cabinet.  I can’t possibly clean only one of the cabinets, the other 3 cabinets have to at least be wiped out and the two drawers should be too, I mean, what’s the point of doing all but the drawers, right?

So after a hour’s worth of work, I’ve managed to finish the cabinets and drawers, return a found battery to its proper place and wiped down the washer and dryer.  I still have to vacuum, under, around and behind the washer and dryer and then I have to remove the vent in the floor, make sure it’s wiped clean and then vacuum out the actually vent so dust doesn’t blow all over the newly cleaned surfaces.  I still have to wipe the light switch plates and door handles and then conclude with mopping.  Multiply this scenario at least three times (laundry room, mudroom and half bath and for the half bath, I even pulled out the touch up paint and 2 paintbrushes!!) before I even allow myself to consider moving into the kitchen and you can see my dilemma.

It’s so much easier to pretend the housekeepers clean to my standards and just ignore that battery under the washing machine.  Ugh…

I Ate those Collards for Nothin’ Apparently

January 2nd, 2016 just may go down in history as one of the most expensive days in my life and I only left the house to have dinner!

The better half and I have always had iPhones and we have always been relatively happy with them.  However, since the iPhone 6+ came out, I can’t say the same.  His phone, the second one of these contraptions, is in the process of dying and Apple wanted $329 to fix a phone that’s barely a year old.  He decided, after I texted 6 of my friends and family to ask what they use, to go Galaxy.  Ugh, I feel like a traitor – android?!?  Yuck!  But, if Apple’s ridiculously expensive products go by the wayside so easily, I’m definitely ready to change.  I don’t understand why a  fairly new, non-damaged, $300+ phone would die from being carried in someone’s pocket.  Really bizarre.  It’s no wonder their profits and ratings have dropped in the last year.  Consider that a warning.

DD numero uno casually mentioned the Oceanaire to DM.  Of course it’s close to the most expensive game in town, but we decided to take her there anyway.  We ate and ate big!  I had the escargot and the sea bass, then for dessert, the grand mariner creme brûlée – all to die for.  We waddled out after the initial sticker shock wore off. The next time we’ll darken their doorstep will be around Motorcycles on Meridian time, so we have some time to recover!


  
We came home and went back to our regularly scheduled programming.  Bed by 8, asleep by 9.  Now…here at 3 a.m. I have a classic case of severe indigestion but I’m just too lazy to grab a Tums. #nowhining

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