August 09, 2011
I've never wanted to spend much time on my blog to discuss politics and I won't do it much here today except to say this. If you have children you know what it is like for a child to do something and say I didn't do it or it's not my fault or point the finger to someone else and say it's there fault. I have never liked when my boys said this. I always hoped that they would someday say, I did it and I'm sorry. What about when something gets broken or spilled and no one in the house will claim responsibility? It was my goal as a parent to teach my children responsibility and to teach them that it is not a sign of weakness to admit a fault or mistake. My boys did learn their lesson and they accept responsibility and admit when they are wrong.
How many of you would like to win a contest that makes it possible for you to go to Washington, D.C. and stand before a joint session of Congress for 15 minutes and tell them to knock it off and quit blaming each other. It is wasting time and hurting people. Sit down, give a little, compromise and quit blaming each other. Nothing is more frustrating than to be in a crisis and everyone is spending their time blaming each other and not spending precious time trying to remedy the situation.
So here we are facing an economy that is slowing down and we really are unsure what to expect next. With that in mind, I think it is time for all of us to "Hold Fast" to what we believe in which is to live below your means as much as possible. The news is discouraging and that is saying it mildly, but if you were to turn off the news and look around your livingroom you will see that it looks much the same it did last week and the week before. Be thankful for what you have and know that in the midst of this chaos, you do still maintain some control over your finances.
You can go to the grocery store and buy only name brand items and pay more or you can try store brands to save some money. You can start cooking from scratch and make your own healthy bread goods. You can cancel the cablevision, sell a car, cut back on entertainment and do whatever it takes to set some money aside or at the very least work hard to pay your bills.
We have gone through a lot since 2007 with the economic crisis in this country and the one thing that I do know is that you can let someone control your situation or you can take control of your life. I know there are people out there who are unemployed or underemployed and you feel that everything is out of control with your limited income. It wasn't your decision to be unemployed or to go from full time employment to part time. That was out of your control. But, there are some things that are in your control. You only have so much money and you have cut back as much as possible without cutting food and medicine from your budget. I want to encourage you that even in your situation, you can control some things.
At the very least you can control your attitude toward life. You can let the situation rob you of your joy or you can become overwhelmed with worry. I've been there and worrying didn't bring in more money. If you have done as much as you can possibly do, I applaud you. You are doing your best and that is all anyone can do.
The one thing that I am doing to lift my spirits and to put my career skills to work is to volunteer more and more of my time to my church. Churches and other charities are suffering from decreased donations due to lowered incomes of families. If you don't have the money, you may have the time to volunteer and serve others. It helps to keep your mind off of bad news and focus on helping others.
Before I give a frugal recipe, I want you to know that I haven't forgotten about tips from the Tightwad Gazette III. I just felt I needed to sidetrack for a couple of days.
Now for a recipe. This recipe was given to me by a dear pastor's wife the week after we were married. She had made this casserole for us and I loved it. I asked her for the recipe and she recited it to me.
I have given it the name "Mrs. Hatch's Casserole."
1 lb. ground beef (or less)
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1/2 of 1 (10 oz.) pkg. spaghetti
French Salad Dressing
Brown ground beef and drain. Pour 3 to 4 cups water over the beef. Add onion soup mix. Bring to a boil. Break up spaghetti, place in beef mixture and reduce heat. Cover and allow spaghetti to cook. When spaghetti is cooked, remove cover and allow the water to evaporate. Top with some French salad dressing.
This is a simple recipe and it tastes great. I always have these ingredients on hand so it is something that I can easily make in a pinch and everyone loves it. I have substituted macaroni for the spaghetti and it works too.
You can easily reduce the amount of ground beef in this recipe and increase the amount of pasta. You may have to add additional water to cook the pasta if you do this.