Monthly Archives: April 2012

Technology

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I have had the pleasure recently of realizing that most people correlate a person’s techno-savvyness with which model cell phone they own.  This is such a ridiculous farce.  We, in the name of being intelligent consumers, refuse to upgrade our technology until it breaks.  We have enough knowledge of technology to know we’re only buying extra memory, which you can buy fairly inexpensively and install yourself.  Not the mention the environmental cost of getting “rid” of electronic devices.

Here are some things to consider.  What are my actual needs.  Am I student?  Do I run a business out of my home? Where do I use technology?  Does is it need to be highly portable, durable etc?  When our sons were 2 and 5 we went through 2 DVD players, a TV, 2 laptops, and 4 cell phones in less than a year because of the wonderful misadventures of parenthood.  At that time we needed INCREDIBLY durable technological gadgetry with cheap warranties.  Now that the boys are 11 and 8 our needs have drastically changed.  We need to simplify.

For example, we use the Xbox because we can play Netflix, games, DVDs, and CDs on one device, and it comes with an EXCELLENT warranty.  We don’t have cable (chaching! money in my pocket) so this is wonderful entertainment for us!  We have a desk top computer and a laptop.  The laptop is for when my husband goes away on Duty.  He can gchat us, now that google+ does party chats we’ll have even more fun with this.  The desk top is for the kids and printing.  We need to add memory to the desk top because it’s a dinosaur (2007), but it works fine.  Honestly, if you use Google Chrome you don’t need to update your actual computer (except for adding memory) that often, all the “software” you’d need is right there in Gmail FOR FREE, or operating within Google Chrome, and you don’t need to download it onto your computer.  Most other software is on line; adobe, flashplayer, java and AVG security.  It is a waste of money to keep buying Ipads, laptops, and desk tops every year, even every other year for that matter, when what you need is all right there for FREE.

If you know your technology you don’t have to rely on manufacture upgrades that come in the latest models.  You can just download them for free online onto your existing gadget.  You’ll save yourself and the planet the trouble of recycling your electronics if you own less.

Don’t get me started on phones and phone plans, same principal.  Constantly upgrading your phone is a WASTE OF MONEY, unless you own a business and actually need a 4g network to run credit card payments, or have a medical condition which is greatly helped by an app on a smart phone.  Smart phones are fun, but for most of us they don’t really do anything for us that we can’t do for ourselves CHEAPER.  When it comes to technology go minimal, and keep it simple.

Collecting Rain Water

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My husband and I received a 338.00 water bill yesterday. Triple our average bill. This utility company is having issues with it’s pipes, and has had to replace their piping for two neighbors. Looks like they’ll have to replace ours too. Of course, not before they over charge us for their problems. Thats utility companies for you. There is a plus side. It got us thinking about collecting Rain water.

The previous owners of our home already had one collection barrel set up just outside the greenhouse. We haven’t utilized it yet. While researching together, my husband discovered that 33% of water usage goes to flushing toilets, 3% goes to gardening, 13% goes to laundry, and the remaining 51% is for drinking, cooking, and showering. I am of course going to start using the existing barrel for watering my plants, but that’s only 3% of average water use. We want to start using rain water to flush our toilets.

We don’t mind carrying in buckets. We live in Virginia. It’s pretty warm here. This just isn’t practical for everyone. However, it’s a way to save money. Since we aren’t planning on using the collected rain water for drinking, laundry, dishes, or cooking we don’t need to worry about mold and bacteria. This means we can avoid expensive collection bins designed for those purposes. You can find them here.

We plan on using a similar set to what our previous owners (Biology Professor) used ; a 33 gallon trash can attached to our down spout. This is just a little idea that I felt I could share with my readers. I know it simply isn’t practical for everyone, BUT it is worth evaluating as a possible alternative water source for some of your water needs.  Here is what it looks like.  You can also put it on cinder blocks so it’s a bit easier to get to the spigot.

HOBO BURGERS

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This is a recipe I got from my husband’s Grandparents.  At the time his Grandfather worked on the Railroad, I’m not sure his job.  They lived on a VERY fixed income.  My husband’s grandmother would make these, over an open fire, for the “Hobos” that would jump rail cars.  It was an inexpensive way to “pay it forward” as we say now.  I’m sure they didn’t use Ground Turkey.  Knowing his grandparents, it was probably Opossum, or Squirrel.  So, I’m sharing a family recipe.  Feel special.  😉

 

You will need:

Tinfoil

1# ground turkey (2.79) or Ground Beef (3.79)

2-3 Carrots (really any veggie)  (.60)

1/2 of a small onion                 (.50)

3-4 Potatoes                          (1.00)

rosemary and basil (I grow my own)

Salt and pepper 

Grand total                             (4.89 – 5.89)

 

Directions:

Slice Carrots, Cut Potatoes into 1 in chunks, and onion into large strips (small pieces will just stick to tinfoil).

Use scissors to cut basil and rosemary into small pieces, then mix it in with the ground meat.

Rip 4, 4 to 6in pieces of tin foil.

Once the meat/spice mixture is well blended start to “roll” the meat into 2 inch balls.  I say “roll” because it isn’t that neat.  You can really just grab chunks.  

Place 3-4 of said “balls”/chunks in the middle of the tinfoil.  Add Carrots, potatoes, onions, Fold tin foil over the food until it meets in the center, LEAVE OPEN TO VENT, then roll the ends toward the center.  They should look like little tinfoil pockets.  I’m OCD, in all reality you can just grab the outer corners of the tinfoil and crunch it up in the center of the food and poke holes in it, so long as you careful handling it when it’s finished cooking.  

Place on cookie sheet, and cook in the oven on 350* for 20-30 minutes, You can also cook this on the grill, or throw it into the embers of a camp fire.  VERY FUN AND CHEAP MEAL!  Salt and pepper to taste.

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Homemade bread would be yummy side.

 

 

Checking back in

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I checked out for a while. Got busy with life stuff. Bought a house, working through the adoption process, substitute teaching, and fulfilling my daily duties as a momma. I’m BACK! I’ll continue to post recipes and share information on how this family of four (hopefully 5 sometime soon), lives WELL on an the salary of an Enlisted soldier.