Friday, December 26, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas of 2008

Found a few cartoons that summed up the economy this Christmas. Enjoy.

Mmmmm Homemade Tortillas

Trying to save money, I have been trying to make a lot more things from scratch. I found a tortilla recipe without lard or shortening (not even in my house, think the stuff is evil). But now since I started making them, the kids won't eat store bought. Definately no comparison and no suspect ingredients.
Here is the recipe if you would like to give it a try.......

Chewy Flour Tortillas Recipe

· 2 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 1/2 teaspoons
baking powder
· 1 teaspoon
· 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
· 3/4 cup lukewarm
milk (2% is fine)

Stir together the flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and vegetable oil to the lukewarm milk and whisk briefly to incorporate. Gradually add the milk to the flour, and work the mixture into a dough. It will be sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with flour and knead vigorously for about 2 minutes (fold and press, fold and press). The kneading will take care of the stickiness. Return the dough to the bowl, cover it with a damp cloth, and let it rest for 15 minutes. (This dough will not rise, but it needs a rest).
Divide your dough into 8 balls of equal size, cover them, and let them rest again for about 20 minutes. Avoid letting them touch, if you don't want them to stick together.

Dust your work surface with flour. Working one at a time, remove each piece of dough and pat it into a 5-inch circle. With a rolling pin, roll out the tortilla, working from the center out, until you have a 7- or 8-inch tortilla a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the tortilla to a hot, dry skillet or griddle. It will begin to blister. Let it cook for 30 seconds, turn it, and let the other side cook for 30 seconds. Remove the tortilla, place it in a napkin-lined basket and cover with aluminum foil. Repeat for the remaining tortillas. (I just wrap in a tea towel).

If you like, you can substitute one cup of whole wheat for the all-purpose. Tried these, not bad, but everyone prefers the white.

Also, hard to get perfectly round, since the dough tries to draw up on itself.

Here they are made into quesadillas....

Really good with homemade Lentil Chicken Veggie Soup. Yum!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dan's Birthday

Sorry, been a while since I posted last, way too busy working. Today was the only day we had to finish our shopping and I am toasted. Monday (the 15th) was Dan's 17th birthday and we had homemade pizza for dinner. Cheese, pepperoni (nitrate free) for the boys and plain pineapple and pineapple and jalapeno.He wanted Dutch apple pie and I thought I had enough apples for 2 pies and ended up with an extra crust, so I made pumpkin. Couldn't figure out why the pumpkin wasn't a big hit until I tasted it.....I forgot the sugar. Not very happy, pumpkin is probably one of my favorites and I ruined it. Tried sprinkling raw sugar over the top-definately not the same.

Dan said he got the best present ever. You can probably tell by the look on his face. He is taking guitar in high school, he is in his second year and just loves it. He had no idea, so it was just priceless.

Now we just need to get headphones for his amp!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Fun Video

When I was a kid my grandfather used to play his Allan Sherman records for me. I have great memories of he and I listening to his collection of record albums. Here's to memories.....

Talking about YouTube - Hail To Thee, Fat Person by Allan Sherman

By the way, why did our parents tell us that eating everything on our plate would help starving children?

Definately going to freeze the 'ol buns!

Unofficially participating in Crunchy Chicken's freeze your buns challenge. We usually only turn on the heat in the morning to take the chill off the house and then again in the late afternoon or evening when the temperature starts to go down. Even so, our electric bill went up $29 (bill is about $130) and we have gas heat (must be the blower).

Which is funny, since my gas bill from Oct was $12.88 and Nov was $27.30. Only a difference of $14.42. Although my level pay went up to $56 a month. They claim it is supposed to go down in Jan. We will see.

Anyway, how does that work that I have gas heat and my electric goes up $29, but the gas only $14? WTF?

This coming week, is going to be a bit more of a challenge, here is the weather forcast for our area..........

Did I say B..B...B...B...BBBBRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!

I hate being cold. Although, it seems like DH is usually the one that turns on the heat over everyone else. And he's lived in Minnesota. My oldest daughter always complains and I just tell her to wear a sweater. Doesn't really like my answer much.

Curious to know how everyone else is doing so far this winter and how much you spend for heating your house in your neck of the woods.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Okay...finally got the Thanksgiving pic from the Botanical Gardens......drumroll please....... order of appearance.....Starting with the back row.

My lovely DH (with the creepy grin), Leila (Dan's girlfriend), my son, Dan (almost 17), my son Ryan (22) and my nephew (sister's son), Nick (13).

Second row...Haley(11) my brother's step daughter, my three...Laurel (14), Alexis(11) and Evan (7), my mom, my brother's step son, Jared (9)and my bro-in-law(sister's hubby) John.

Last's step son, David(7), brother's wife, Joanna, my brother,Arne, ME, and my Dad.

Missing are my sis and neice, whom we call Little Alexis, she's 4 and I guess my sister thought it would be too cold for her. And also, my brother's daughter(12) who lives with her mom in Pullman, WA. And my oldest son, Justin(23), his wife and my grandbaby, Isabelle(About 3 1/2 mo), they are all in New York, at Fort Drum where my son is stationed.

Hopefully that wasn't too confusing for Y'all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Have a nice day...and please tip your server!

Due to my medical problems I need a job where I am constantly moving around and on my feet. No sitting behind a desk for me. So, my choice for employment is serving. So, forgive me for a moment whist I do a little biatching. I know the economy is bad and no one has any money, but I need to make a living a too, so please don't take it out on your server. If you don't have money to leave a tip, then you certainly don't have money to eat out, or at the very least go somewhere, where tipping is not required.

Unfortunatley, I live in a right-to-work state and tips are included as part of my income. When the national minimum wage went up, mine did not, and will not. I currently make $3.35 an hour and tips are supposed to make up the rest of my income. Out of my tips, I am required to tip out my bartender, my busser and food runner. The amount I tip out depends on a percentage of my total sales and the restaurant is assuming that I am at least making 15%. I also get taxed by the government the same way. If I don't get at least 15%, I am losing money to everyone I tip out and the government.

I try to give everyone excellent service, unless of course I am slammed out of my rear and , you, the patron, should take that into consideration. You should at least leave 15-20%, more for excellent service or a larger party or if you are extremely demanding or camping in my section. I understand that people like to sit and visit, but the more you stay at the table, the more money and I losing and you should tip accordingly.

I don't know what make people think it is okay to leave me less than 15% or absolutely nothing for excellent service. Are people ignorant, so stupid that they can't figure out 15% of their bill (most cell phones have tipping charts or at least a calculator in them now) or just plain rude? Combination of all three?

I really don't like having to rely on tips for my income, but until the nation decides to make all tipped staff make at LEAST minimum wage, that's not going to happen. And please don't tell me to get another job, with my medical problems that is currently out of the question.

So, next time you go out, please remember that most servers need tips to work their way through school, support a family, etc. And try to be a gracious guest and to treat your server the way you would like to be treated. Mean and rude people suck!!! Thank you for letting me rant a while.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Frugal vs. Green Living

My DH was layed off the end of January and hasn't been able to find work since. He decided to go back to school in September and his unemployment ends next week with only a partial payment (just in time for Christmas, yea). My hours have been cut and we still have 5 kids at home. It is becoming increasingly difficult to make ends meet.
I want to live a more eco-friendly, simpler, healthier lifestyle, but it seems that sometimes frugality and green living clash in that regards. I want to eat local and organic, but with the high price of those foods, I just can't justify the cost right now. It seems like the worse the food is for you the cheaper it is. We don't eat a lot of meat, usually just some chicken and turkey and maybe some nitrite free ham slices. But if I see a good deal, I stock up and freeze. Unfortunately, it seems that when you find the mark-down meat it is packaged in plastic and styrofoam. I can usually buy apples and potatoes cheaper in bulk, but they come in plastic bags.
I would like to buy soap from my local co-op without any packaging or suspect ingredients, but for the cheapest bar, it is $1.99 ea. I can go to my local Wallmart (yes, I know, big box store) and get a 12-pk of Ivory for $3.25. I can buy shampoo for $1-$1.50 for the cheaper brands in 18 oz. plastic bottles or I can re-use a container at my co-op for .49 an ounce
Also, I like to pick up free samples of beauty items at the co-op (I so love free stuff), but then there is the waste of the foil pack for the teeny amount that you get.
There are some things that we do that are both frugal and green, such as reducing water and energy usage, composting, recycling and gardening. But where do you draw the line between being able to afford the necessities, your health and being more green?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

If it's yellow, let it mellow.........

Even my 7 year old knew this rhyme without me having to tell him. We have been trying to use the concept of this little rhyme for the last month or so. We didn't flush much at night for the noise that the toilet made while people were sleeping. But we have decided to implement this also during the day. Now the toilet only gets flushed when the toilet gets backed up with paper, which is why I am thinking of switching to cloth wipes for #1. Curious to know what kind of cloth everyone else uses for this purpose and how receptive all the girls in the family were. And it also gets flushed for #2.

Have mentioned to DH that peeing on the compost bin is a great source of nitrogen, but so far he has yet to be receptive to this idea, although he has no problem when he is drinking beer out in the back yard peeing behind the trailer.

It also gets flushed when company is over due to the ick factor of other people. I remember when I was a kid and going to other people's houses that follow this rule and was totally grossed out when I used their bathroom. I also have an ick reaction to using a public restroom that hasn't been flushed, more so for #2, but still gross. I guess there is a difference between family pee and stranger pee.

One of my older boys does the dishes and I am trying to get him to fill up the small part of the sink with the garbage disposal and use that to rinse dishes before they go into the dishwasher instead of leaving the water running. Still haven't got him to follow this, but he is using colder water and not leaving it running so much. I also have the kids leave the water off when they brush their teeth and so far all of this has brought down the water bill $10. Want to get that figure even lower if I can.

One third of all fresh drinking water is used to flush the toilet. Depending on the age of your toilet, you can use approximately 1.6 (for a low-flow) to 4 gallons of water per flush.

Ways to save water in the bathroom:

1. If you don't have a low-flow toilet, put a plastic bottle or a plastic bag weighted with pebbles and filled with water in your toilet tank. Displacing water in this manner allows you to use less water with each flush. Saves 5 to 10 gallons a day. That's up to 300 gallons a month, even more for large families. Better yet, for even greater savings, replace your water-guzzling five to seven gallon a flush toilet with a one and a half gallon, ultra-low flush model.

2. If you're taking a shower, don't waste cold water while waiting for hot water to reach the shower head. Catch that water in a container to use on your outside plants or to flush your toilet. Saves 200 to 300 gallons a month.

3. Check toilet for leaks. Put dye tablets or food coloring into the tank. If color appears in the bowl without flushing, there's a leak that should be repaired. Saves 400 gallons a month

4. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Saves three gallons each day.

5. Turn off the water while shaving. Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of water to rinse your razor. Saves three gallons each day.

6. Put aerators on bathroom and kitchen faucets.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pet Adoptions

Cat & Dog Adoption Fast Facts

25% of pet dogs put to sleep in animal shelters are purebred.

Over 7 million pet dogs and cats are put to sleep each year due to overpopulation.

Adopting a dog or cat from a humane society, an animal shelter, an SPCA, or a dog rescue or cat rescue group saves a life!

This is something that is very important to me. There are so many animals right now without homes and sleeping in tiny cold cramped cage with a cement floor; forced to eat, poop and sleep all in the same tiny place. We adopted Goldie, a retreiver/chow mix in March of 2002, and then little Archie the end of October. I knew he was the one when I walked up to his cage and he looked up at me with those cute little eyes and wouldn't stop licking my hand. He is a dachsund/miniature pincher mix. He had a few issues at first, getting to know the rules, but he is a great dog. All the kids and Goldie just love him. Goldie is enormous compared to him, but they play constantly, and she is gentle with him. She has bad hips and needs to lose some weight, so Archie with all his energy is great to keep her in shape. He burrows under our covers and sleeps with DH and I all night. He washes my face when I get home from work. Make sure you keep your mouth closed or you will get dog-frenched. He was a lot more spendy than the other dogs for adoption, but definatley worth it for such a great dog.

Due to the economy and loss of homes and jobs there are too many abandoned pets. If they can't all be adopted they will be euthanized. Such a waste. If you have a loving home to share with a friend, please visit your local animal shelter. Your life will be much fuller because of it and you will save a life.

And please have your pets spayed and neutered. Another way to cut down on the overabundance of unwanted pets.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Well, I think Thanksgiving turned out well this year. We all went over to my Parents. My brother-in-law made pie, and my sister-in-law made a pumpkin dessert. I brought sweet potatoes, and I think they were the best ever. Must of been-I didn't take any home this year. My youngest daughter wanted to help, so she peeled them all, which was nice, I hate that part, but she didn't mind. I boiled them until soft and whipped them with raw sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and since I was out of OJ I used a blend of orange, strawberry, banana juice-put it in a casserole, layered on marshmallows and toasted until brown. They were soooo good. I was hoping for a leg this year, but my mom only got breasts, although there was enough for us to bring one home for turkey sandwiches. It has already been devoured, darn it.

I usually also bring pie, but my brother and brother-in-law wanted to. I should have any way. Was a little disappointed. The pie had kind of an odd flavor. Mine is definately better, and another drawback is that we don't have leftovers. I love pumpkin pie. Not really a cake person and on my birthday I used to have my mom either make me pumpkin pie or strawberry shortcake. I have a major sweet tooth right now and would really like a piece of pie. Maybe I can make some on Sun. I had to work today and have to work tomorrow.

Anyway, after we ate we went to see my granny at the nursing home. Really sad. My grandma was always so independent, she volunteered at her church, drove herself from Seattle to Aberdeen all the time, lots of crafts, sewing and baking. Her favorite thing to do was give out cookies and sweets to everyone. She especially likes ice cream and going out to eat. She turned 94 in July and has dementia due to Parkinson's, so she doesn't really remember who we are anymore and it just is heart-wrenching to see her that way.

Came home and had dessert, then went out to the Botanical Gardens by the Old Idaho Penitentiary to see all the holiday lights. It was a little chilly, but nice. My son's girlfriend froze. She was wearing a dress and forgot her other shoes and had high heel dress sandals on. Brrr. We all had our pic taken. I will post it as soon as my brother e-mails me a copy, knowing him it could be a while.

Thanksgiving Funny

17 Ways To Cook A Turkey

Go buy a turkey
Take a drink of whisky
Put turkey in the oven
Take another 2 drinks of whisky
Set the degree at 375 ovens
Take 3 more whiskys of drink
Turk the bastey
Whisky another bottle of get
Ponder the meat thermometer
Glass yourself a pour of whisky
Bake the whisky for 4 hours
Take the oven out of the turkey
Floor the turkey up off of the pick
Turk the carvey
Get yourself another scottle of botch
Tet the sable and pour yourself a glass of turkey
Bless the dinner and pass out

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

About Me.

My name is Kaarin (and Carnivorous) is kinda my DH's nickname for me, hence the name of the blog. And Crunch for the mere fact that I am trying to be more crunchy (living simpler, more frugal and a lot more green). This is a pic of my family and my oldest son's wife. He's the one in the Army uniform. I am a mom of 6, grandma of one (she was born after this pic was taken). We have 2 dogs (one we adopted from the pound in 2002 retriever/chow mix-Goldie) and one from the pound just recently (doxie/min pin mix-Archie), one cat (Smokey) and a rat (Cinnamon). And our 16 year old cat (Oreo) also adopted recently passed away. Currently live in Boise, Idaho. I graduated from Twin Falls High School (Twin Falls, Idaho) and shortly thereafter moved to Seattle with my 2 oldest boys (they were about 3 and 4 at the time). Where I met my DH and we had 4 more children. Lived in Seattle for about 13 years and thought I wanted to move to a smaller area and the only one I was familiar with was where I grew up, but when I got there I had major culture shock and after 5 years we finally had an opportunity to move to Boise. Not quite Seattle, but at least I am in the city. We recycled and composted when we lived in Seattle, but got away from it when we moved back to Idaho. But we have started back up again and are tring to reduce our impact on the planet. But it will take many baby steps. DH got layed off in January and hasn't been able to find work, so he went back to school and my hours have been cut so we are definately gonna have to find ways to be even more frugal than we already are. Wanted to start this blog so that maybe I can help some people on their journey and maybe others can help me.

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