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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Little House in the Suburbs


When I was a little girl, I LOVED the Little House on the Prairie book series. I read every one of those books several times over.

In the past few days, I feel like we've been living in Little House in the Suburbs. As with many families in the U.S. these days, money is not exactly plentiful (anyone need a good graphic/web designer or some freelance writing done?), so we're trying to be a bit more frugal and are roughing it in ways that have me recalling Laura, Mary, Carrie, Ma, Pa and their good old bulldog, Jack.

Instead of calling someone to fix the broken dishwasher, we've been washing and drying dishes by hand. Not exactly fun, but not horrific either. It reminds me of when we used to have to wash dishes by hand at home. We'd argue over who had to wash and who had to dry. Washing was the best job, so the dryer -- out of spite -- would constantly hand back dishes and say "this is still dirty."

When you're trying not to spend a lot of money, you do more home cooking, at least we do. No, I haven't slaughtered a pig to make salt pork, but I have been pretty creative in the kitchen. I tossed together some ground beef, onion, mushroom soup, cream cheese and egg noodles for a do-it-myself stroganoff. It was pretty tasty, even if Charlie looked at it and asked "is this puke?"

I also made homemade chicken burritos in the crockpot. Unfortunately, I forgot to add any liquid, so they chicken breasts were more than dry. Not wanting to waste the meat, I shredded it, added it to a saucepan with diced tomato and some chicken broth and simmered it until it had regained some moisture. I served it with cheese and tortillas. Amazingly, it was quite tasty. Wonder if Ma could have come up with that on the fly?

And last in the Little House entry, we've thrown open the windows and turned off the air conditioning, even though the high temps have climbed back into the 80s. If you know us, you know this is a HUGE sacrifice.

I'm getting so good at this pioneering thing, I think tomorrow I might try to make Robbie some cornhusk Bionicles.


Anonymous said...

Seriously, we could be related. My sister has the box set and when I was a little girl and stayed the night with her, that what I would read. I loved the books and the show!

Good job for you on finding things to do to save money around the house. My dryer broke a couple weeks ago and I'm putting off buying a new one until winter! Who needs a dryer when you can hang your clothes on a clothes line?!

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty proud of you! Now you know what Dad would suggest to save on laundry costs, don't you?

Just turn your underwear inside out!

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite ways to save is with hand soap. If you buy those foaming pump soaps, the way you refill them is with 1 part soap to 4 parts water. I buy a nice big bottle of Dr. Bronner's and it gets me through dozens of refills.

Joanne said...

Sounds like you have found some creative ways to help the finances. I think I can understand about the air conditioner -- although that said in our part of the world we do hit the 80's and 90's but very few houses have air conditioning - - so just remember to close up the windows and curtains before it gets to warm - this keeps the cool air in and then as soon as it cools down open up. This is the only way we survive the heat -- we also use the tower fans.

Old Woman said...

UR blogged reminded me of a few years ago when my husband was out of work almost a year. We turned the air off and opened windows - we removed cable television & internet. We bought a $100 antenna from radio shack and installed it in the attick. After the initial shock of loosing sponge bob; our kids even began to enjoy the 7 fuzzy free channels. My 7 year old learned to ride his bike and my older son started working in the garage with his dad.

Shelley said...

"Is this puke?" -- LOL!!!!

Little buggers can just take the heart right out of your kitchen work, can't they?

My Aisling said not long ago, "Oh, I see we're having hot mess again tonight. Yum!"

I wanted to hurt her.

So I made her eat dinner.

(Insert evil Vincent Price-style laugh here.)