A Return to Blogging

I have not blogged in quite a while. Social networking with Facebook and Twitter has all but taken care of immediate reduced quips of information that have made blogging lazy. However I am going to try to get back into the swing of blogging, as it allows me to create more of an archive of things going on in my life, rather than a hidden history on facebook statuses (where most of my information is stored).

A couple big events as of late, some of which will be broken down into individual and/or private posts due to their sensitivity in nature that cannot be shared with everyone. Some involving my mother, some involving romance, some involving my health.

But as far as general stuff goes, things are going pretty well.

The house is well, though having its growing pains. My dryer just recently went up. It’s the same dryer my ex-husband and I bought bran new from Sears in 1999, and then it sat in storage for probably 5 years or so. It was a beautiful black dryer. My ex-husbands mother had bought the matching washer, which died several years ago. Still, I am sad to see it go.

The repairmen had tried to replace some parts on it, which cost me about $240, but still could not fix it. Instead they were receiving a fairly new dryer from another client who was upgrading, that they were willing to sell us for the $240 I had already paid into their service, plus an additional $85. I had already spent the $240 with them, so for them to offer to apply that to the cost of the new dryer was a great gesture on their part. The new dryer is nice (and white, bleh), and comes with a 2 year warranty.

However now my cooking oven is broken. They looked at it briefly (no charge), and even tried to replace a part on it (again, no charge) and said it was likely not fixable. So I will be on the look-out for a new cooking stove soon.

In addition to that, the mid-atlantic has been hit with some crucial rain the last couple weeks. See video for one of our latest “floods”:

Unfortunately the roof on one of my upstairs rooms has started leaking, and apparently isn’t even shingled, just tarred. So we’ll be putting new tar on that to hold it over until I eventually replace the entire roof of the house.

Growing pains of home ownership, I know :)

Lets see, dads health is doing well. They have him on a new medication they are trying out to curb his appetite to help him loose weight, and it is working well. The odd part is it is administrated via needle like a Type 1 diabetic. He’s gotten used to that though. The fact that he’s eating healthier because of the meals I’ve been cooking I’m sure helps as well.

Speaking of meals, I made some amazing healthy apple caramel pancakes the other day. Recipe to follow:

Apple Caramel Pancakes

Note: I doubled this recipe to feed me and my father and it was about a pancake too much for us to eat, which Bastian was VERY happy about. This recipe is mainly for one normal person.

Double Note: I use sugar-free stuff because my father is diabetic, you can adjust as needed.

1/2 cup Cottage Cheese (I used 2% cottage cheese)
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour (I use Nature’s Path Multi-Grain pancake mix with Flax, which is at my local grocery store)
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Butterscotch Pudding Mix, dry (this gives it the caramel flavor)
1/2 Small Apple, sliced very thin
Sugar Free Maple Syrup

Whiz in mini food processor or blender or something. Spray pan with non-stick spray (trust me, this stuff is sticky). Cook on low till bubbles appear, press very thin slices of apple into each pancake, flip. Cook till done. Serve each pancake with a drizzle of Sugar-free Maple Syrup (we use Cary’s) Makes 4 small pancakes or 8 silver dollar size.

The batter for me was very thick, so my first pancake I tried to make too large and it was a mess. I made the rest smaller and was very patient letting them cook all the way through. I may consider adding a little Torani Caramel Syrup to the recipe to thin it out a little next time, but these really did turn out yummy once I got the hang of cooking this batter. I had to use two spatulas to turn them over.

These are sugar-free, high protein due to the cottage cheese, low fat and lower carb pancakes (though still a higher carb breakfast than most)

In other dad news, I planned a huge surprise birthday party for him this month and it went over very well. I secretly invited old friends he grew up with and family, we decorated the house in a 50′s sock-hop type theme with blue and teal as the primary colors, and I hired an Elvis Impersonator to do an hour long concert.

Here is the invitation I made and the birthday banner I did:

Dad's Birthday Invitation

Dad's Birthday Banner

There will be many pictures, but I have not gotten them back from the photographer yet. Dad got up and did the twist and was dancing with most of the ladies and everything :) I even got up and danced with him. The Elvis Impersonator was really good too, he would put scarves around the neck of some of the women and give them a kiss on the cheek (I got a scarf :D). His name is Brad Crum and he does a very good job, even sounds like Elvis most of the time.

I’ve been doing some freelance work lately to bring in some extra cash. I’ve also launched my new site “The Money Drain” which is full of user-submitted stories on financial failures and successes. It’s doing pretty decent, but I haven’t had the time to market like I want. Still, it gives me an outlet to sorta bitch about peoples financial mistakes and provide my own tips and ideas on money management. Eventually I hope this site will bring in a decent income through advertisements, if I can develop enough of a readership to warrant people wanting to advertise on it. If you have a story you could add, please do so :)

I am still mourning the death of a co-worker over the July 4th weekend. It is not the same in the office without him, and he was a dear friend. It’s hard to think that you can go in for dental surgery on a Thursday and be dead the Sunday after.

Anyway, that’s all for this particular update. More updates will be forthcoming.

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Spacing Things Out

I’ve talked before about how I give my dad an allowance each month of about $200-$300. After his social security benefits come through and he pays all his bills and debts (the largest monthly payment being his health insurance), he doesn’t have much left over for food or gas. I take care of all the utilities and bills, he helps out paying a third of the mortgage.

I used to give him all of his allowance at once at the beginning of the month. That didn’t work out so well because he’d usually spend it all within a week.

Then I used to give him half at the beginning and then half mid-month. That also didn’t work out because he’d spend both payments within a week, leaving him with no much else at the end of the month when I was also running low on budgeted funds till my next pay period.

So this month I’ve started giving him $50-$75/week, usually on Wednesdays. That’s enough for his gas for that week, and a trip or two to the country restaurant or coffee shop to chat with the old farmers each week.

So far this seems to be working much better, because there’s no temptation to spend it all, and he’s guaranteed to have money next week rather than borrowing more money from me. I suppose I should have done this sooner, but it I guess this is how you find out what works.

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Update on Dad’s Leg

We suspect another month or two and my father’s leg will be fully healed of ulcer wounds. We are likely going to continue the new drug to see if it helps more with the lack of oxygen that gets to his leg and maybe it will actually start to heal and not be purple all the time. (Putting the rest behind a cut in case people get grossed out)

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Neighbors were snowed in with no way to remove snow

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Bastian helping shovel snow

Taken yesterday afternoon:

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