When I booted up to the aol homepage today

there was a link about the Kellogg family. I’d never heard about them prior to this, but found them interesting and thought you might too. They sold their home and everything to escape the rat race and now live full time (all 14 of them) in a 35 ft motorhome. They are homeschooling their kids, kayaking, and seeing the US and maybe beyond. Talk about learning to stay within a budget! Anyway, I found their website and thought I’d share it with you in case some of you have ever dreamed of doing similar.

Here’s what I found that was made in the US

Rumford baking powder, Hanes Her Way cotton t-shirt, Palmolive dish liquid, towels (Ralph Lauren Polo hand towel, Jubilee hand towel, and Martex Grand Patrician towels). I bought the Martex towels in 1999, and the others are also several years old. But I’ve since bought kitchen towels and inexpensive washcloths that are not US-made.I have Red Heart yarn made in the US, but the Peaches & Creme yarn is made in Canada of US-grown cotton. My Anchor Hocking soup mug was made here as was a 24-oz insulated mug with no company name on it.Alberto Culver makes their Simple face wash gel here,and my Pyrex glass measuring cup, pie plates and mixing bowls are made in the USA. And according to Wikipedia, my KitchenAid stand mixer was manufactured in Ohio.Herbal Essences shampoo and Pantene conditioner say they’re made in the US with US and imported ingredients. I bought some paper cupcake liners the other day that were made in China. I didn’t look for the country of origin at the time; I chose them because I wanted white.

On another e-mail list

there was someone talking about how most people are tricked into believing that US made products are more expensive than stuff made in China or Mexico. But that started me wondering, how much does the average person own that IS made in the
US? So here’s the challenge – find 10 things in your house that are “Made in the USA”. Your children and pets don’t count. 🙂 You can either list by item and manufacturer, or even take a picture of all the items if you want. I’m not sure I can even come up with 10 things,

Could have been really scary

As you recall, these next two weeks money is extremely tight. Consequently I have been checking our bank balances every day. This morning I checked to see if I could afford the extravagance of commercially made pasta sauce and discovered that someone has made a fake check/credit card and “swiped” fraudulent transactions on our account. Small amounts, but enough to cause me serious problems if left undiscovered.The bank closed down the VISA side of our debit card immediately, and now that I have gone and purchased my pasta sauce & gotten a little cash out, I am calling them to shut down the card entirely.

You just have to breath and be calm

when he is upset and it is hard, generally hubby is calm and Im the emotional one. But once you get a handle on where you are financially and start to work together to find an answer you can find something that everyone is willing to try for a month or 2. You can always adjust from there.Maybe your hubby needs a set limit of 10$ or whatever every week and you only give it to him on a weekly basis, Maybe he can handle all 20$ for the 2 weeks. It all depends on the budget and what he can do.

Sam used to be bad about this

He thought since I was the stay at home person and he was the working person I should do the budgeting. I was fine with that since he is military and leaves a lot, I stay home so it works for us. He whined when I said he could not go out to eat as often with his work friends. Or that I needed to know in advance when he was planning on needing money for this and that. He pitched his fits and we sat down and went through all the budgets, he wanted to cut the grocery budget. So I said fine but he had to go shopping with me and help me decide what to cut. He of course didn’t like when I suggested cutting the soda and snacks. LOL.
What we figured out was that he would get X dollars he could spend however he wanted. We started with cash but like so many cash slipped through his hands too fast and I had to give him additional gas money to get to work. So we got him a debit card, I know that’s backwards of DR but it really works better for hubby. He gets his set amount every pay day and he is happy with that. Its now extremely rare that he can not plan ahead and have money for this and that. His money is enough to cover his gas, haircuts, etc that are true needs and then gives him some blow money as well.

Naturally I thought one should buy a new car

and keep it. I never saw a trade for a car, I never saw an insurance claim for a car, just cars. How I managed to marry a man who had the same background still astounds me. Needless to say, when I wanted a car, I went and purchased a car – in the early 90s I bought a new car every quarter. Its really pointless for me to mention how many cars I’ve had over the years and the fact that for a while, when I was married, I had a car lot in the back yard. I did learn to sell a few along the way, but that didn’t stop and hasn’t stopped the car desire/fetish/addiction. Its also very rare that a car has taken noticeable depreciation – the above mentioned 1974 Stutz is still around and my uncle has visions of it being sold at Barrett Jackson some day.Of course, all of my family (and my ex) can tune a car, repair most anything that can go wrong, and as someone else mentioned been relatively accident free, which is no small feat in Atlanta.

Would I rather that money be put toward getting out of debt?

He used to have $100 a month, but then we ran into a financial wall and he had to give it up (although in his mind, he’s still entitled to it). He does some occasional computing work for someone, and he gets to keep all the money from that (some months it can be substantial) unless we are in dire circumstances. He used that money to buy a “latest and greatest” computer a few months ago. And an iPad. Sure I would. But this is money I wouldn’t normally see anyway (he straight cashes the checks at the guy’s bank, or the guy pays him cash), so IMO, this isn’t worth the battle, and it kind of “pays him back” for the money he spent on my kid the first few years.DH probably doesn’t think anything like that last part of the sentence, but I am keenly aware that part of our financial situation, or more accurately, the reason we are not as far ahead as we ought to be, is a direct result of the baggage I brought into our marriage.I was spending $800 a month on armed, police escorted protection for my oldest when she went to her bio-dad’s. (yes, we live California, where up until OJ, we cared more about “reconciliation” than the safety of the child.) That went on for the first 5 years of our marriage. I am more-than-you-can-imagine grateful that he was willing to pony up the money after I stopped working. I don’t know what I would have done if he hadn’t been….Like I said, he is WAY better than he used to be. And truthfully, I’m not much better. I’m willing to cut our grocery bill to the bone (which impacts him) if the kids need something, or (before DR) put something on a credit card (like food storage) if it was the deal of the century. So we all have our issues.The important thing is we have a program and are working it….even if we derail occasionally.

I’ve never had a new car

A new car loses a huge chunk of its value the day you drive it off the lot. And you can only get insurance for t as a *used* car, so if anything happens you’re on the hook. And I live in the Boston area where cars tend to get banged up a lot. We
have a low rate of traffic fatalities but a sky-high rate of fender-benders and car thefts. I do know some people who buy new cars because they plan to keep them for a decade and they want to know the car was well-maintained, which makes sense to me. My current car is the newest I’ve ever had , a 2005 Camry which my father bought new when he was really too old to drive. I inherited it with 3400 miles on it, and promptly put several dings in it. (it’s ridiculous how much body work costs!) I expect my teenager will drive that car to college.

The first 5 years were pretty bad

He grew up the pampered youngest child in a very well to do family. It was just easier for their family to throw money at them versus spending time (a moral to our own stories, DR fans.)he has never lived on his own for any extended period of time. went from his parents to his first marriage to our marriage. magically, someone always took care of paying the bills, even when he was working, so he has a 40 year training period of “the money he earns is his to spend as he wants.”i worked outside the home the first 3 years we were married, but when our child care costs got to be $2k a MONTH, i came home (we each brought 1 child from our first marriages and had 2 more within 2 years…yes we are part of the 1% birth control failure rate population!)
I get where he is coming from. He feels after all these years, we should have more spending $ than we do. My viewpoint is if we hadn’t had massive necessary expenses the first few years, combined with his out of control spending (4 brand new cars in 6 years, only 1 of which was necessary (bad accident)….don’t get me started), we would be farther along now. And really, do we want to live like this for another 18 years? I sure as heck don’t.But aren’t we all in that same situation? It’s nothing new under the sun–if we were the exception rather than the norm, we would have no need to be working the baby steps

I read through your other responses before responding myself

Without really knowing your family dynamics I wonder what is his underlying reason for wanting what he wants when he wants it?Is there something in his background that is causing this reaction? I’m sorry but I can’t remember if you work — and if not, does that cause tension? Are there budgetary “don’t go there” items for both you and your spouse? For example, for me it’s the daycare bill and mortgage; for my DH it’s car/home insurance; we split the the other four wall types of bills like phone/internet, trash/water, electricity/gas, etc.
Beyond that we just let it go and talk about what it is we are going to purchase or need (such as groceries).
I’m probably not helping but thought I’d toss out my thoughts in the hopes that other lurkers might also feel inspired to chime in.

I would give him all the information

and then sit there silently and let him look at it. Work together as a team, it is a much more pleasant place to be. If he doesn’t “get it”, then let him know that he will need to come up with a way to get some fast cash, ie: sell something.
I’m sure there’s something in his den/office or the garage that he can sell on Craigslist.

All great suggestions!

I took a leaf from Melanie’s book, and sent him our Debt via email. That way he can look at it and come to grips with it without my feeling like he’s being judgmental or whine-y (whether he is or not….it’s the tape that plays in my head.)
Netflix is doing a one month free DVD promo…I don’t know if that will make him happy, but it might take the edge off. But on a different note—seriously, two weeks without and you’re throwing a fit? Can you say ADDICTION????
His response to the debt list was “it wasn’t as bad as he thought it was.” Duh, yeah, that’s because we’ve been plugging away at it vs. uncontrolled spending. Maybe we haven’t been as gazelle intense as DR would have us be, but its the best I’ve been able to do given all the unexpecteds and DH not being on board.Thanks all–you probably either saved my marriage or kept me out of jail….(not entirely kidding!)

Again, abbreviated response

His tantrums are childish but his desire to have some say in the $$ is valid. Love Jan’s & Kimberly’s comments. Give him “some” control, not 100% and not 0%, but some, and let him help shape the spending. Some consolation: my DH and I have some of those same issues, and we’ll be having our own such meeting Sun. Hang in there.

Use it as a time

for him to come up with acceptable solutions to paying the bills. Lay ground rules such as “rent must be paid on time”, same for utilities, insurances and credit card minimums. Household items such as food (the average of the past 2 months) have to be done first. Gas for getting around, etc.
After the ground rules are agreed to, he might have some creative ideas to keep his entertainment and juicing. Listen to his ideas, try to incorporate them. Let him know that this is a solutions only conversation, not a gripe session, not a “it’s broke, lets fix it”, but rather improvement on what is already slowly working.

I will take a deep breath and do as Jan suggests

You’re right, I do get defensive because we have 18 years of history with these kinds of temper tantrums, and I am very leery of giving him control over anything. The last time I let him “take control” over our finances, it took me 6 months to dig us out and put us back on an even keel….his view is: if there’s money in the bank, that means I’m free to spend it (and yes, this is not his first rodeo, and yes, his first marriage broke up in part due to this attitude.) That includes groceries….yes there were times in the past when MY kids didn’t have food on the table because HE had to buy some fricking gadget or spend $20 on diet pepsi from the gas station because “he needed it.” So there’s a lot of baggage, which is why I’m just looking for my half and ways for ME to take the emotion out of it.
I emailed him a copy of this paycheck’s budget. He has backed off the tirade some when he saw that not only had we spent close to $1000 in the past two weeks for DD16 medical bills, but another $250 that I wrote a check for which they were holding until today. I already had to call and cancel her appointment for Tuesday and put it off until the next paycheck in two weeks (she really is much, much better….so cancelling is not nearly as bad as it sounds.) Then we will just budget for her to go in every two weeks around paychecks, unless he wants to start giving us a discount.
It just pushes my buttons when nerd that I am, I am doing everything to keep us afloat, juggle stuff around so everyone is happy, and I get whining because he doesn’t want to delay gratification.

You’d thought you’ve got enough

food already so that you won’t have to plow through your food budget. Does he have blow money of his own? You may need to factor that in. I’m just throwing thoughts out there. I know how tough and emotional this is. Once when my husband and I were battling it out, I told him I thought we should strip and talk about this naked (I once heard Dave Ramsey say someone had told him this is how this particular couple did their budget meetings simply because it’s silly). My husband cracked up, and we worked things out (and I didn’t have to get naked! lol). Bottom line, let him look at the numbers, let him work on it himself (at least he’s paying attention, right?), and then come back and recrunch the numbers tomorrow. It’s hard. I will say, the blessing to all this is that it’s caused me to live on cash rather than a debit card, and it’s also restrained my spending more than I would have thought since my husband picks up these budget sheets each week and goes through them line by line. I always have our bank statements for the week attached to the past week’s statements, as well as savings and investments printed out, so he can see what we’re achieving. So far, we’ve avoided any blow ups or disagreements, and that’s huge. Again, if what your doing isn’t working, you might need to find another tact to get him on board.

I’ve been where you are

My husband would go over and over the numbers, get out a pen and paper and pour over the numbers some more and would then say nothing to me, but absolutely nothing would change except my getting angry. Things changed once I finally broke down the numbers on a budget sheet I have (I do an old fashioned written budget I have from Tsh Oxenreider’s, The Simple Mom’s book, Organized Simplicity, that I write out each Friday morning for the upcoming week showing income, expenses and any funds I carry over from the previous week). It’s very black and white, and my husband now gets it. These weekly meetings are no longer emotional (thank goodness). It really never worked well until I showed him these budget sheets. I have one for his business and one for our personal accounts. I would suggest if what you’re doing isn’t working, do something else. That’s what I had to do. Also, let him know that your meeting is a wonderful idea (yeah, I know, I think “blech” but don’t turn it into a negative, that doesn’t work anyway), and you’d really like to go over the numbers with him and get his input, and then both work on it separately (yeah, I know, you’ve already done the work, but let him crunch the numbers too), and then tell him you should then come back and make a final decision on things after you both sleep on things. Might I suggest that maybe you offer him 20 bucks or so (in cash) from your food budget and give that to him for his juicing for the next two weeks?

Give EXACTLY what he asked for

Gather the most recent statement for each bill that clearly shows the due dates, the amount due etc. Print out your zero dollar budget, gather up recent grocery receipts, and then ask him to really LOOK everything over and then ask you any questions he might have. Don’t get defensive, don’t get accusatory be calm and matter of fact. Tell him THANK YOU for showing an interest in OUR financial situation. Then ask him for his input on how he thinks the budget should be changed. After all he lives there too and he helped create the bills, therefore he should have a say in how they are handled, including giving up the “I wants” for the “must pays”.
Go to a cash envelope system only for: groceries, fuel and blow money for each of you. Explain that $140 is all you have for 2 weeks for ALL the groceries including his juicing vegetables and fruits and that if he can figure out a way to put bread and milk in the house as well as the fruit and vegetables you would be more than glad to let him take over the grocery shopping. Tell him you will make a list of only the foods truly needed for the two weeks, give him the coupons etc and the decision on all the groceries will be his. Suggest he help you plan the menus for the next two weeks so that maybe the two of you together can find the money for his fruits and juices.
In other words, INCLUDE him in the decision making process. Turn some of the responsibility over to him. My dh and ds do 99.99% of my grocery shopping now we have found it saves a lot of “discussion” about what there is and isn’t to eat in the house. I make up the menus, give the list and they KNOW what the budget amount is. Truthfully they do better at staying on the grocery budget than I do.And about that $17 did you include any bank fees or automatic drafts? Letting your account get that low is asking for Mary to sneak in the back door and nail you!

Today is payday

It’s also the check where we pay our rent, which takes the vast majority of it, so these checks are normally tight anyway. Combined with some unexpected things that had to be paid “right now”, we will have $17 left in the bank for 2 weeks, and that’s IF I don’t spend more than $140 in groceries for the next two weeks. Which I might actually be able to do, given the stuff we have in the freezer, food storage etc.Here’s my problem. Financially, DH is a big baby. He REALLY does not like being told NO. Earlier this week he started juicing, the vegetables and fruit for which were outside our grocery budget, but I had the money so it wasn’t a big deal. Given how precarious our situation is, I sent him an email letting him know things were tight, and we would have to suspend NetFlix and Hulu for two weeks, and probably cut back on juicing.
I won’t bore you with details, but the short version is he’s blowing a gasket. Now he wants to have “a meeting” and for me to bring all the credit card statements, cards, bills, etc., so he can know where the money is going (he deserves his entertainment, juicing etc.)Which, if I wasn’t getting the vibe that this is because he is throwing a temper tantrum I would be happy to do….it’s not like I’m spending money on trips to the Riviera or something. So my question is, what is the best way to respond to behavior like this? I know the issue isn’t the present issue per se, so save the ink telling me that. I also know I can’t change “him.” I’m looking for ways for me to take the emotion out of any “meeting,” since usually I just get mad and walk off when he gets like this.


since I managed to get around to getting my next installment of the travel blog up this morning (link below) I’m now preparing to work on something ds suggested to me as we walked around the garden area yesterday.
Dh had mentioned earlier in the weekend that we had gotten behind on the layers for the Lasagna Gardening method we use and that despite the nice layer of bird dropping from the geese being in there this winter we needed to do a LOT of layering before planting this year. This prompted ds to mention that maybe we needed to do a cost analysis of what putting in the garden would be versus what we could/would get out of it.
This gave me pause. This last year we got very little out of the garden because I was away from home so much mystery shopping and merchandising, however, for various reasons, I’ve pretty well stopped doing that and will pretty much be home daily now. So hopefully we could have a very productive garden. But then that is speculative.
Have any of you ever done a cost analysis of doing the garden? I figure I need to include the cost of soil, compost (if I have to purchase any), water and the few seeds I need to purchase. Plus any materials for building trellises. Can anyone else think of anything else I’d need to include?
I really think no matter the cost I should plan on doing this because groceries are doing nothing but climbing and since I grow strictly organically the health benefits are to be considered. But then there is that budget thing we try to stay in.

Your thoughts?

Garden Fork is

a great source of videos on some of those topics, what does your local Ag agent say about your crops? Also, our local ag agency just had a pruning workshop we attended, perhaps your county, or an adjoining would have some classes

The main issue we have here with wood mulch of any kind

is that it becomes Grand Central Station for slugs and snails. That may or may not be an issue for you there. The originator of the BTE system is apparently in Seattle but I found myself wondering how in the world he keeps slugs in particular from decimating everything. Slugs like to hide under bits of wood debris during the day; maybe his mulch pieces are too small? But even then, they’d lay eggs under there.

We do use a mulch system here with alfalfa flakes rather than wood products. Breaks down faster, has rich nitrogen so it doesn’t tie up nitrogen while degrading, and it imparts a lot of trace nutrients to the soil. Any kind of mulch will help protect against water loss and thus reduce irrigation. Best service and website to get up to $1000 personal loan online! I have used wood mulch for potatoes along with other types, but I keep going back to alfalfa simply for the cost. Alfalfa is slightly cheaper per unit area, and helps provide that ever-elusive nitrogen.

One awesome combo, since you’re already doing lasagna gardening, would be to layer wood chips with alfalfa mulch so you get the benefits of both.

I’ll mull your questions on the four veggies you’ve had issues with. Still haven’t worked much on the break even garden spreadsheet for you. Yesterday was errands day and I just wasn’t home that much. I’ll try to get that to you within the next few days. But I had to chuckle at the comments about the $47 tomato. Yes, I suspect we’ve all had at least one tomato like that, somewhere along the line……

My gardening questions for the day

A few of you have already told me your great results of the Back to Eden Gardening system. Have any of you had any negative results? Can you offer me any hints on using it? I’m also eager for more success stories on it. Do any of you know of any books on the subject?
Now on to a new subject. While our garden usually does gang busters where sweet potatoes, radishes, tomatoes, peppers of all sorts, cucumbers and squash are concerned I have dismal returns on four crops we really want to grow and do well with. I’ll list them in a second. What I’d like are your suggestions on are a tnt good eating/storage quality heirloom seed you would recommend for each. Planting hints and care tips you might have to getting a good yield on these vegetables.
Also anyone know of a good online guide or utube video on pruning grapes?

That sucks..

Does he play an instrument? I wonder if music therapy would help. I’m just throwing that out there as a musician. I hope you can find something that works well.

Hey ya’ll

I know its off subject but I thought maybe someone here had some experience with this.

My son (8) has PTSD and its getting worse by the day. We are working to get him help (he’s been evaluated and now we’re waiting on the report so we can get him the right therapists etc).

Its getting more and more difficult to bring him down from these panics/fits/rages etc. Any ideas how to help this kid? Its like someone flipped a switch in his head and its getting worse and worse.

There have been past conversations re:

cutting cable and getting an antenna. Friend just posted this web site to look up what channels can be picked up with an antenna from a given address. I guess it also has antenna brand/type information too. Anyway, thought someone out there might find it handy if they are considering cutting the cable.

Thank you so much for all your well wishes

We are actually doing okay, and I have a pretty good feeling about all this. Yes, we’ve been preparing for it for a few months now, although things seemed to have settled down somewhat the past month or two.
Then about 10 days ago, there was an incident at work where a young woman was being terrorized by a co-worker. DH intervened, came home and told me about it and said they might actually fire him over it, since they love this other guy so much. I told him if that happened I am perfectly ok with him being fired because he stood up for the right if that’s what happens.
So we’re not too surprised. A bit disappointed the company didn’t do the right thing, but I guess they figure it’s easier to pay hush money to DH than go down another road.
How do I know it was that vs because of say, job performance?
They gave him 4 weeks of severance; severance at all is unheard of at that company, let alone 4 weeks worth. Combined with his vacation pay, he came home with a very large check, and they indicated they would not fight paying him unemployment, which if true, will pretty much cover our rent.
So right now, we sit at a FFEF of 4 months (that’s really ironic, believe me since yesterday we had like $160 in the bank, and I was stressing). We had to go get DH a pay as you go cell phone (thank you StraightTalk). If unemployment comes through, that FFEF will last us quite a while. We will need to get him a suit to go out interviewing.
The really great thing is 4 months from now is when DS17 will graduate from public high school So our ties to southern California will disappear then. I’m probably going to relent and let DD16 apply to my alma mater. Nothing says “free grant money and scholarship” on a FAFSA than being unemployed.
The only area of concern is medical insurance. They want $1100 for COBRA, yeah, right. I can put the kids on Healthy Families of California…and I will check around to see if I can find a private insurer as well.
Thank you for your support and kindness.

So sorry to hear that

Remind us again… were you expecting something like this to happen? What field is your husband in and where are you located?

How is your budget? Are you able to get by? What categories are you concerned about and what can you do to maintain your four walls?

I live in the Metro WDC area and while it’s supposed to be more of a bubble, we are also feeling the pinch… My DH was let go last December and is still looking despite several opportunities early on which didn’t pan out.

We are doing OK so far.. my biggest concerns are the mortgage and keeping the kids in daycare (1 yo ds and 3 yo dd) for continuity and to also allow DH to take care of the house and to also have time to search for a job unencumbered by childcare.

I am thinking of you and wishing you the best as you work through this.. trust me, I’ve been the primary breadwinner 5 of the almost 8 years we’ve been married and while it may not suit some, switching roles hasn’t been as bad as I thought it might be (as long as you can talk about those roles, expectations and understand the switch, which we’ve been able to do).

DH just got let go from his job

I guess his feeling he should be applying for work elsewhere was more than just a whim. He’s on his way home, I don’t even have a way to get hold of him since his cell phone was from the company. Good excuse to drop TMobile and go to straight talk, 1 cell phone.

Blue barrels will work fine

I’ve even seen them growing in vertical PVC tubes. There are quite a few variations on the theme of “how”, so perhaps the best option is to Google “strawberry barrels” and see all the different links and youtubes that come up. More than a few are using those blue barrels.
As for variety, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one variety rated over another in terms of growing them vertically. What I have seen is which varieties are more/less resistant to whatever temps, bugs and/or diseases you might have in your local area. That would be the more important consideration. Your county extension agent (particularly their on-call Master Gardener) should be able to answer which varieties do well in your area.
Our strawberry bed got off to a really slow start, mainly user error (mine!). But this year we’ve got a nice strong bed of young plants out there and I have high hopes for a good crop. Yum!

As I continue to work on my garden plan for the year I think about strawberries

We have tried them various times, but unfortunately either the geese or critters usually get them before we do. That is discouraging to say the least because we LOVE strawberries.
While trying to decide whether or not to devote some of my garden space to trying strawberries again this year I remembered how my dfil use to grow them in a barrel with great success. Is this perhaps the way we should go? They would be up off the ground away from the turtles and in the garden away from the geese, but would this be the solution? I have an excellent source for the white plastic food grade barrels and my guys are perfectly capable of putting holes into one. I know herbs can be done this way too. But then there is the question of the best way to do it.
So here are my questions on growing strawberries/herbs in barrels for those of you who have done this.
1.What are the pros and cons of it?
2.Have you ever made one with a plastic barrel?
3.How do you keep the dirt from seeping out the side holes if you don’t have one with the cups, but have simply cut holes in the barrel as shown on utube?
4.What ever bearing strawberries do you recommend for such projects?
5.What herbs would work well in such a set-up as well.