Friday, October 28, 2011

A long line of strange....

We had family stop in and spend the night with us last night on their way home from seeing their Marine daughter off on her deployment to Africa. Since I was a little girl, it has been drilled into my head by my grandma and my mom that you NEVER allow guests to see your house dirty. I can honestly say I have NEVER seen dust in my grandma's house (she's gone now but grandpa keeps up very nicely!) or my parent's house. It just isn't done. I can remember when I was a little girl and my daddy was a truck driver back then and when mom found out he was coming home, she would stay up all night cleaning house. Many times I would wake up in the middle of the night to the strangely comforting sound of the vacuum cleaner. I loved living in a clean home (I didn't really take part in the cleaning of it but I sure made up for it by messing it up!) but I had always just assumed that the "clean gene" had somehow missed me. I was not filthy but a big mess never bothered me much. However, the older I get, the more that "clean gene" makes it's presence a weird way. Normally people will straighten things up, clear off the counter and hide any clutter so their guests will be comfortable. Me? I clean the most obscure things that no one will EVER notice...but me. Take yesterday for example. Yes I did the usuals, made the bed, swept, mopped, cleaned bathrooms, etc., but my main focus was on 2 areas that, for the life of me, I do not know why I focused on them. First up was the bottom shelf of my pantry. I am blessed to have a very large U-shaped pantry next to the kitchen. Unfortunately, it tends to be the catch-all for everything that doesn't have a permanent home. For some reason the entire bottom shelf was bugging me so I pulled everything off, vacuumed, purged and reorganized. Found quite a few things I forgot I had in the process. This whole thing took at least an hour. Now, I had no idea what time my family would arrive only that it would be after lunch. It was 10:30 when I finished. Now the second place that was bothering me was my kitchen drawers. Not the junk one-there is just no hope for that one. It was the silverware drawer, the cooking utensil drawer and the drawer that holds my towels and hotpads. What guest is going to be looking in there????? For whatever reason, I felt the overwhelming need to clean out the little crumbs that collect in them and to reorganize the storage (seeing as how I had just rediscovered a lot of stuff). This I completed around 11:30. A quick PBJ and I was back at it, sweeping and mopping. Then I get the call that they are less than an hour away. WHAT????? I have at least 2 hours of proper cleaning left to do and I still had to shower and blowdry my hair because you always should be neat and clean for guests right? ANYWAY, everything managed to get done, I smelled good and we all had a great time. AND my pantry and drawers ROCK!!!!!

On the cooking front, I am just trying to make it to the end of the month! Nothing special is planned except for my twins birthday party tomorrow. I will be making a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting tinted orange and a chocolate ganache poured over the top. No idea what we will eat for dinner but dessert is HANDLED! Then on Nov. 1st (their actual birthday) we are taking them out to dinner and to a movie so no cooking for mama!!!! Ohhhhhh.......they will be turning 12. TWELVE??!! I cannot believe how fast it has gone by. My babies....WILL BE TEENAGERS IN A YEAR! Oh please say a prayer for me and hubby because we have gone through the whole teenanger teenager thing 3 times already and know what to expect. Oh well, I will try not to worry too much, they are really great kids and I am just going to cherish them everyday the Lord gives me with them.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just read some interesting stuff about Aquaculture. I am very interested in raising fish as we are a fish loving family! We have a pond with catfish and some bass but my favorite is tilapia. It is so easy to cook and tastes great, especially to people who don't really like fish. However, buying it in the grocery store can be a little dicey and pricey. A lot of the tilapia sold around here comes from China. Um, I really don't care to eat nuclear fish thank you very much! Plus the cost has gone through the roof in the last 6 months. When we went to Disney World last month, we took a Greenhouse tour at Epcot and got to take a close up look at their fish farming. It really looks like something the average Joe could do. Mother Earth News put out an article with some general info about aquaculture and I think I will definitely check into it soon.

This morning I made, hands down, the best waffles I have ever eaten and I have eated A LOT of waffles! They were Pumpkin Waffles with Honey Cinnamon Butter. Oh they were TO DIE FOR!!!! I posted the recipe earlier this morning so please make yourself some. You won't regret it! Lunch today is an old favorite, Garlic Roast Beef Sandwiches. It is supposed to be on store bought garlic bread but I am making my own with the leftover French Bread I made yesterday. Since I have choir practice tonight, dinner has to be early and easy to fix. I am thinking Bacon Cheeseburgers on homemade buns (having them on homemade buns cancels out any bad stuff from the bacon and cheese!), baked sweet potato fries and corn. Maybe green beans. No, corn...I think. Since I am out of sugar AND sweetner, there will be no dessert :( I really need to make a run to the store!

Best Waffles EVER!!!!!

I just have to share with you this recipe for the BEST WAFFLES YOU WILL EVER HAVE!!!!

Pumpkin Waffles

In a large bowl sift together the following:
2 C. Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Tsp EACH of the following cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger

In another bowl mix together the following:
2 eggs
1 3/4 C. Milk
3/4 C. Pumpkin (can be pureed pumpkin from a can or cooked and mashed fresh pumpkin)
1/2 C. Canola Oil
1/2 C. Chopped Nuts (optional)

Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and combine. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 C. batter onto hot waffle iron and cook as directed. These waffles are so yummy! Since I am out of Maple Syrup, I mixed some butter, honey and cinnamon together and spread it over the waffles. This is now my FAVORITE way to eat waffles! Enjoy!!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without." The more I hear this old Depression Era motto, the more I can relate to it. Let's face it, times are rough and they aren't looking to get much better any time in the near future so we have to make whatever we have last as long as possible. I have really been trying to do this, trying to see just how frugal I can be. You know what? I can be pretty doggone frugal when I have to be! I have so many great ideas that I have gleaned from different blogs that I am eager to put into use. What are they? So glad you asked!!! I was amazed at how many "common sense" ideas there are that I never really thought about before like using rags instead of paper towels for cleaning, using cloth napkins (cheap ones that don't need to be ironed!) instead of paper ones and using hard plates instead of paper. Oh, I can hear you now, "But Tracy, isn't that just increasing your work elsewhere like laundry and dish washing?" I thought of that and, really, I have to do laundry and wash dishes ANYWAY so a little more is NOT going to kill me. My son is all for this because we won't be creating as much garbage and it means he won't be having to take it out as often! I don't have the heart to tell him that it will just free him up to do other chores for me :) Some other money saving, skin saving and Earth saving ideas have to do with making my own dish soap, laundry soap, hand/body wash and shampoo/conditioner, even body lotion! Apparently, Castile Soap is going to be my new best friend! Google Castile Soap and you will see the many uses of it. I can't wait to get started.

I am happy to announce I FINALLY got some eggs out of my chickens. After 6 L-O-N-G months I went to check yesterday and there were 2 perfect brown eggs just waiting for me to collect them. I am willing to bet that I was much more excited about that then the hens that laid them. Can't wait to check today, I am running VERY LOW on eggs right now. The other 12 hens better get a move on!

On the cooking front, I have been doing a lot of it AS USUAL! I am almost all the way through the meals I put up in the freezer at the beginning of the month. I have just about enough dinners to make it to the end of the month...I think. Lunches are what throw me for a loop. I am not much of a sandwich person but if school takes longer than I have planned then I may not have time to cook anything and it's PB&J to the rescue. Dinners, on the other hand have been pretty well thought out. I also have a collection of recipes for next months' meals so, hopefully, the planning, shopping and cooking will go much easier. Today's meals consisted of the following: Oatmeal with raisins, apples and walnuts (oh my goodness it was yummy!) for breakfast. Lunch for me was slices of homemade french bread with slices of hard cheese and sliced tomatoes ( I must have been in a slice kind of mood). The twins fought over last nights leftovers and I made hubby a couple of sandwiches with the french bread. Dinner is spaghetti and I am using the french bread to make garlic-cheese toast! Dessert is pumpkin bread. I will be in Carb Heaven by the time I pass out in bed tonight! Doncha just have weeks days where you just want bread...ALL THE TIME! Today is that for me. I don't know what it is but once I got started on the french bread this afternoon I almost couldn't stop. You know how it is. You have to cut the ends off cuz no one wants to eat them and, since I can't waste it, I ate it. Then my tomatoes were about to be unusable so I HAD to do something with them, so I ate them AND the bread. Then, when hubby wanted sandwiches, I had to take some of the bread innerds (not even sure that's a word) out so he could bite into the sandwich so I ate the innerds too. THEN, I wanted something sweet and since I used the last of the sugar up in the pumpkin bread, my only option was....pumpkin BREAD! Whew, I feel better getting that out :) Now I think I will go eat some marshmallows...Hey at least they aren't bread!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amy over at, posted a wonderful piece about the importance of raising manly men. As a mother of 2 boys and 3 girls, I could not agree with her more. There is a huge difference in the men of today and the men of 100 years ago. Years ago, men could build homes with their own hands, hunt for food and grow food to feed their family. They knew how to protect their family. They taught their sons to do these things and raised them to be tough enough to defend their family if needed, but to be meek enough to know when a softer approach was necessary. Today, too many young men can't even figure out how to feed themselves if mama hasn't gone to the grocery store. It is a real shame that our boys are not being taught to be men, rather they are left to figure it out for themselves because they are either being raised by single mothers who don't have a manly figure to help them or their own fathers have never figured out what being a man means. I am so blessed to be married to a real man. He was taught by his father, another real man, to hunt, build, fix, work, love and respect. My husband takes his job as husband and father very seriously. Is he perfect? Nope. However, he treats me with love and respect and he takes time for his children. He teaches them things they don't want to learn because he knows that one day they will appreciate it. He doesn't try to be their best friend because he knows that what they need most from him is for him to be their father. They need him to lead so they can learn to lead. They need him to teach them all the things that I can't. They need him to make the hard decisions so that they will learn to do that for their families. Raising boys to be men is a very hard job but what a wonderful gift it will be to the women they will marry and the children they will raise.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gift season...

My twins have a birthday coming up the day after Halloween. They suspect that I have ordered their gifts online and have started scrutinizing the mail. It truly is hilarious. I got a box in the mail this afternoon and they have searched my room trying to find out what was in it. Silly children. Like I am not smart enough to keep any gift out of their reach until I am ready to give it to them. I am no amateur when it comes to hiding gifts. Since they day I got married, almost 18 years ago, and became an instant mom to 3 kids I have learned just about every trick in the book to keeping gifts a secret. I can remember one year when I was about 12, I searched my parents room and found where my mom was hiding my Christmas gifts. I saw each and every gift I was getting. Totally ruined Christmas morning that year. However, I learned a very important lesson that year and since then I have made sure that I NEVER accidentally stumbled onto ANY gift stash ever again. I know my kids think they want to find the gifts before it is time but I know better than to let that happen.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thank GOD Saturday is gone...

Saturday had to be, hands down, one of the most painful days of my life. Not emotionally painful mind you but physically painful. It all started early in the morning when I had to get up long before I wanted to because I was supposed to have a choir rehearsal. I got ready and was heading to rehearsal when I turned on my cell phone and got a text that rehearsal was cancelled. No big deal. I had to go to church anyway to set up for Sunday's communion. I get to church and was walking to the chapel loaded down with the communion implements when, out of no where...I fall down. Not just a little trip either. Down on my knees and elbows on the marble floor! If that wasn't bad enough, when I fell, I tried to keep the chalice full of grape juice from crashing to the floor and I accomplished that. Unfortunately, all the grape juice came down on my head!. So here I am sopping up grape juice and trying not to say very bad words in the Lord's house. There was no one at church so I couldn't get to where the bathrooms were to clean myself up so I had to finish setting everything up and try not to drip all over the beautiful white table cloths! I would have been alright if I had been able to go straight home but I promised hubby I would fill up his diesel tanks so he could finish the planting. So now I have to go out in public with grape juice all over me and my hair still damp and oh so sticky. I get over that humiliation (honestly you should see how OTHER people go out in public on a Saturday morning!) only to suffer more at home. I was in the shower because I had grape juice hair and I bent down and whacked my head on the tile bench in the shower! It wasn't enough to have skinned up my knee and elbow, strained my ankle and hurt my shoulders, NOW I try to give myself a concussion! Oh wait, it gets better. I decide I want applesauce with dinner so I fill a pot with lemon juice and water to put the peeled apples in and as I was carrying it to the table, the water shifts and sloshes over me and the floor. It is at that time I said "Ok God. You have my attention! What the heck are you trying to tell me???" I still haven't figured out what He wanted but I am starting to think He just needed a laugh....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vanilla Pudding

I have never been a fan of vanilla pudding until I tried this one. It is oh so good!

2 1/2 C. Milk (any kind)
3 Egg Yolks
1/2 C. Maple Syrup or Honey
4 T. Corn Starch
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla

In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, egg yolks, maple syrup or honey, corn starch and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring CONSTANTLY until pudding begins to thicken. Add butter and vanilla and stir to combine. Remove from heat and keep stirring until butter is melted. Serve right away or refrigerate until later. (If refrigerating, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent the skin from forming)

Chocolate Pudding

Try this and you will NEVER buy pudding at the grocery store again!
2 1/2 C. Milk (any kind, I use skim)
3 Egg Yolks
2/3 C. Sugar or 1/2 C. Maple Syrup ( I prefer the sugar)
1/4 C. Cocoa Powder
4 Tbsp. Corn Starch
1/4 Tsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla

In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, egg yolks, sugar or syrup, cocoa, corn starch and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring CONSTANTLY until pudding begins to thicken. Once it begins to thicken, add the butter and vanilla and stir until combined. Remove from heat and continue to stir until butter is melted. This pudding can be served warm (awesome) or you can put it in the fridge to chill for a few hours. Just remember, if putting it in the fridge, put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to keep it from forming a "skin".

Cooking Frenzy!!!!

To say that I have done a little cooking is putting things VERY mildly! Last week, I did the whole month shopping trip and the last few days I have been cooking and freezing it all. So far I have put the following into the freezer: 2 batches Tortilla Lime Chicken, Chicken Almondine, Chicken Enchilada Lasagna, Mexican Stuffed Shells, Tomato Soup, Taco Soup, 2 batches Spaghetti Sauce, 1 batch Lasagna Sauce, Sloppy Joes, Stuffed Turkey Burgers and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ON TOP of cooking 3 meals a day that went directly into our bellies! I am just a bit pooped! I still have more to go, though. Kroger had a big sale on apples so I bought 15 lbs of them to make applesauce. I haven't gotten up the energy to actually peel and chop them yet :) I also still have all the baking to do: Hamburger buns, tortillas, cinnamon bread, dinner rolls, etc. I serioulsy don't know how the pioneer women did all of this. They had to start over each and every day from scratch. My hat is off to them....

I have been doing quite a bit of research on the Internet about whole foods and making everything from scratch so that you know what is in it and I am just amazed at the CRAP that gets into our food and no one seems to think it is a problem. I was munching on a handful of peanut butter chips and chocolate chips (hey, I needed it for energy!) and just happened to look at the ingredient list. BIG mistake! Not much real food there and way more chemicals than there needs to be. I know that commercial food is loaded with preservatives to keep them fresh on the store shelves but, what bothers me is that those chemicals are added to keep the food from breaking down so what is it doing inside your digestive tract? It has to break down to pass through but where are all those chemicals going???? There are so many people posting all kinds of recipes to make your own stuff. I have tried a couple of them and have been pleasantly surprised. There are quite a few items that I will no longer buy from the store but will be making them at home. It does take a lot of time initially but I figure if I take 3-4 days a month and do all the cooking and baking, then I will have homemade, yummy, HEALTHY stuff for the entire month! I can handle that! I will post some of these wonderful recipes soon!

On the farm front, we just finished planting 6 fields of oats. 4 of the fields are for food plots for hunting but the other 2 are going to be harvested and sold. Hubby is chomping at the bit to do more farming. He loves it! Wonder if he'll love it as much when it is our only source of income??? Actually, he will probably always do what he does now, just not to the degree he does now. He will probably turn over day to day operations to the boys in the office in the next 5 years and then he can farm full time. Well, as long as farming doesn't interfere with hunting! Hey, I'm not complaining-all that hunting fills up my freezer and lowers my grocery  bill!

Well, my friends, the time has come to sign off for now. My soup needs to go in the freezer and there's chocolate chip cookies to bake!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Another beautiful day outside my window. I love fall! Growing up in southwest Florida we only had 2 seasons, hot and hotter. I never saw leaves changing color except in pictures. I never saw yards covered in freshly fallen leaves. Heck I hardly ever had to wear a sweater in the winter! That reminds me of a picture my husband took of me last winter. It was snowing (very lightly) and I was wearing a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, a jacket, socks and flip flops. Okay, not the most fashionable choice but sometimes there are just "Florida" things you cannot take out of the girl!
Yeah, I rock the socks and flip flops!!! Those socks are actually MADE for flip flops. They have a separate compartment for the big toe. I bought them at Little MissMatched for the express purpose of wearing them with said flip flops! Sometimes my feet get cold (actually almost never) but I hate having them cramped up in "real" shoes.

I said yesterday that I was going to go back to monthly grocery shopping. I sat down and made a master list of meals, side dishes and desserts. This took FOREVAH!!! But, now that it is done, the next months lists should go a bit easier. I say "should" but anyone who knows me knows that I rarely do things the easy way! After I got all the meals together and written down, know what I did? I went and searched for MORE recipes. I am such a glutton for punishment! Anyway, the list is done and now comes the really hard part...making the shopping list. Aaahhhhh! I dread that part. Shopping for the month (correctly) means that I take a complete inventory of what I have on hand in the pantry and take each ingredient list and see what I need to buy and how much of it I need to buy. I really haven't found an effective way of doing that . I do think that maybe I will do a spread sheet kind of thing and then tally up how much of each ingredient is needed... We'll see.

On the food front, yesterday I made up some beef and bean burritos with homemade tortilla shells and put them in the freezer for later. I really think I will ask for a tortilla press for Christmas because I haven't figured out how to keep the dough from shrinking so much. I also made a batch of Pancake-Sausage muffins for the freezer.(MOST of them made it to the freezer!) YUM! This morning, I made 2 big batches of waffles and pancakes for the freezer. It makes me very happy to have stuff ready in the freezer for anytime I may need or want it. Once I shop Thursday, I will spend Friday and Saturday cooking stuff and freezing it. That accomplishes 2 things. One, I have a freezer full of meals and, two (this is the important one), it keeps me too busy to have to help the boys build the hunting houses. Not that I am opposed to helping but I really cannot stand the nail gun. That thing terrifies me and makes me incredibly anxious. My father in law shot a nail that ended up going through his hand and ever since then, I am NOT going near that thing.

Menu for today:

Waffle for me
Cheese toast for the munchkins

Chicken Almondine

Pork Chops w/Apricot Sauce
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans

Enjoy the day!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Had a very nice weekend. Beautiful weather, the people I love most right next to me. What more could I ask for. Sunday in church, we had a guest deliver the message as our pastor is out of town. The guest wasn't really a guest, he's a member of the congregation and he did such a great job. He is also a member of our choir and has the most soothing, bass voice you could ever want to hear. His voice is the kind that should be recorded reading books or something. Anyway, he delivered such a wonderful message that it was easy to forget that he isn't a preacher by trade. He joked that he didn't feel worthy to be occupying the pulpit but he "owned" it yesterday. His message was on the Walls of Jericho and it got the twins attention because we just studied that in our Bible class. They listened very closely to hear the facts that they had already learned, no doubt to make sure he got it right :) At the end, he made a statement that really stuck with me. He said, "Life is better lived if we let God do His work, His way." How many times have we tried to impose our own will on God? What happens? We are left sorely disapointed as our ways are not His ways. Isn't it true that His ways are ALWAYS better? We may not think so at first but soon we all come to the realization that He does know best.

This is something I did over the weekend:

And this:

Aren't they cute??? I really love the Disney family one. Next time we go, the twins want to get 2 dogs for our 2 dogs. Then we decided to tell Disney to make chicken ones so we could put them all over the back window. Yeah, we get a little carried away sometimes.

Today, in the kitchen, we are having the following:

Whole Wheat Waffles with homemade applesauce

Leftover Taco Casserole from last night

Tortilla Lime Chicken
Roasted Parmesan Potatoes
Green Beans
Homemade Applesauce

Going to make a master menu for the month and go back to once a month shopping. I used to do it right after my husband's company went to once a month pay but it was a pain getting that much stuff at one time so I stopped. Now that I am no longer buying processed food & mixes, I am hoping that my cart won't be nearly as full. Of course, I will still have to go periodically and get milk and fresh fruits/veg but that should be it. In a very weird way, I am looking forward to it. I strongly dislike grocery shopping and doing it less will be nice. However, this is going to force me to REALLY plan out all meals and do a VERY detailed shopping list so I am not constantly running into town to get things I forgot. And believe me, I forget A LOT!

Best Ever Chocolate Cake

This is my go to recipe for chocolate cake. Since it doesn't use any eggs, I don't have to get mad at the fact that my hens are STILL not laying!

Best Ever Chocolate Cake
1 ½ c. Flour (all purpose or bread)
1 c. Sugar
¼ c. Cocoa
1 tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Salt
1 c. Water
¼ c. + 2 tbsp. Oil
1 tbsp. Vinegar
1 tsp. Vanilla
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine wet ingredients and stir into dry until all incorporated. Pour in an 8x8 pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Such a nice day...

I have had such a nice day!! It started with the weather outside this morning. Nice and cool 60 degrees and we are only warming up to 73...YAY!!! So, of course, all the windows are open and there is such a nice breeze in the house. Then I did some cooking with the twins. They helped me make applesauce and pizza and they did such an awesome job! Then I made cookies for church tomorrow and put some taco soup in the crockpot for dinner tonight. We had a great talk about what we would do if life, as we know it, changed. How would we live if we had no electricity? My daughter and I think of it as an adventure. My son? Well he said life just wouldn't be worth living. Okay, I need to work on his sense of adventure. My hubby watched some video on the internet that got him thinking about this same subject. He could live as a pioneer man very easily. He was raised to hunt and fish. He can build ANYTHING and fix ANYTHING. His greatest thrill, other than being in his hunting condo, is simply living off the land. Me? Well, I could do it if I had to. I would probably complain at first but I think I  could get used to it. The only requirement I would have is A/C and indoor plumbing. Those are 2 things I absolutely cannot live without. I already cook from scratch and I am learning how to do more and more the "old fashioned" way every single day. Soon, I will be making my own buttermilk and cream cheese because I go through a ton of that stuff! I think it is pretty funny that for all of our modern conveniences that were supposed to free up time for us, they do nothing but waste our time. (Hello sitting in front of the laptop wasting my time!) Sometimes I think technology has robbed us of life. I mean, I know there have been great strides in things like medicine and we can cure or prevent lots of diseases but what has that cost us? We work so much so that we can have "things". How many of those "things" are really needs and how many are wants? We need a roof over our head but we want a really nice one that looks better than anybody else's. We need clothing but we want designer stuff and we want a lot of it. We need food but we want prime rib. Our wants and needs have gotten all mixed up so we work to buy stuff and when we don't make enough money to buy what we want, we get it on credit or we get a second job. Then we are mad because we are so busy working to pay for our stuff that we have no time to enjoy the stuff so we buy more and more and more. It goes on and on. Here's an example. I have a friend who, along with her husband, has a full time job. They have 2 kids in private school. (Public school here is AWFUL!) They have a house and 2 cars (new). She tells me that she wishes she could stay home with her kids but they can't make it on one paycheck. Let's do the math: if she were to quit her job and homeschool her children, the tuition savings alone would almost replace her income. Plus she wouldn't need to pay for gas running around town each day going to school, going to work, going back to school to bring the kids home and she wouldn't be eating lunch out everyday. Now, if she's at home, she has the time to plan meals and cook so it cuts down on the eating dinners out. After taking all of that into consideration, she actually makes money by staying home! Not to mention, all the great time she will be spending with her kids. They will only be young for a very short time so why would you want to ship them off for most of that time? I am happy to do without a lot of the stuff I thought I couldn't do without because it means that I can be here and take care of my family the way God had intended me to. Not making a sexist remark or anything but it is the wife and mother's responsibility to care for the home and children. Don't believe me? Read the Bible. It spells it out very clearly. As a matter of fact, the Bible gives you complete instructions for life. We parents always joke that our kids didn't come with instruction manuals. They did. However, like most instruction manuals, we didn't read it. I am currently reading it from front to back and have been amazed (and humbled and brought to my knees!) by what I have learned. I guess I just want to say, what is it that you are working so hard for? What will you do when it gets taken away (or lost or stolen)? I heard a song the other day and it goes like this " I don't wanna gain the whole world and lose my soul". I don't need a million dollar house or a brand new truck. My only needs are completely fulfilled through Jesus. How about you?