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2010 Updates from Arksoaper

Just wanted to let all of you know I’m still breathing – thank you for staying with me!

The last few months have been chaotic, to say the least.  Our lives have been turned topsy turvy, but it has not been an altogether unpleasant experience.  😀   I find myself smiling often and thinking of how God uses the unexpected things to shape and mold us in ways nothing else can.

I have become the primary daytime caregiver for our 6 month old great-nephew.  He was a surprise, but has been such a blessing to us.  Keeping him has been one of my life’s greatest joys.  😀  I am worn out, but incredibly thankful for the opportunity to take care of this little one.

We have teenage nieces and nephews who keep us busy along with our own kiddo  – our home seems to be a constant hub of activity.  The drama at times makes me wonder if they are in a race to see who can make my hair turn white the fastest.  LOL

Even though I am not able to post often, I do try to reply to questions as they come in.  I’m glad this blog continues to be useful to those who need it.

God bless you all!

Arksoaper

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I have firsthand info on this, so be forewarned. There is a pumpkin shortage looming.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/11/19/libbys-pumpkin-shortage-stymies-thanksgiving-tradition/

Some of the grocery stores in Hot Springs already have bare spots where the canned pumpkin used to be, with signs saying there will be no more available until next harvest.

If you have not yet stocked up on canned pumpkin and you use it even semi-regularly, this would be a good time to put it back if it’s still available in your area!

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Yes, this is a personal testimony. LOL

I baked up a storm on Wednesday. I made two pumpkin pies first, and there’s always a small corningware dish of filling leftover that we bake and get to enjoy.

I pulled the pies and extra filling out of the oven. Kiddo grabbed a fork and dug into the extra. I was expecting a “YUM” from him, but instead I heard “YUCK”. He said it was AWFUL!

I took a bite myself and couldn’t believe it – it WAS awful!!!!!

I FORGOT TO PUT THE SUGAR IN THE PIES!!!!!!!!! 😛 😛 😛

In all my years of baking, that’s one mistake I’ve never made before.

Disgusted with myself, I decided to set the pies on the front porch for tossing later. (We live in the country, and nobody cares what we do with our leftovers. LOL)

As I was setting the second pie outside, I had a strong urge to throw that pie into the yard! I can’t explain it other than that – all that kept coming to mind was an urgent “THROW THE PIE IN THE YARD!!”

So I did. LOL

Kiddo thought I’d lost my mind. He even called Hubby at work and told him, and he also seriously questioned my mental state. I told Hubby I’d clean it up later, but I felt like the pie needed to go in the yard, so that’s what I did. 😛

About an hour later, I looked outside and there was a momma dog in our yard eating the pie. She was EXTREMELY thin, but was obviously nursing puppies.

It slapped me in the face then – the Lord KNEW I was going to leave the sugar out of those pies, and He KNEW that dog was hungry. That’s why the Lord prompted me to throw the pie into the yard – I wasn’t crazy after all! 😀

What a humbling experience today has been! I didn’t understand why I was supposed to throw that pie (although I felt a LOT better after I did – LOL!!!), but God used my mistake to feed a starving animal.

I wound up setting the second pie into the yard so she could eat it too (which she did, after initially running off).

I am still just amazed and humbled – God cares about EVERYTHING in our lives, right down to baking mistakes, and can turn it into something good.

Lesson learned – even when it doesn’t make sense, trust God – He knows what He is doing. 🙂

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I’m still here!

Thought I’d post a quick update. I’m still here – our lives have sorta been turned upside down recently (not in a bad way 🙂 ), and I am behind on things like blogging! I do miss you guys greatly, and will try to post when I can.

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I heard on the news last night that the DNC has taken out an ad calling Americans dissatisfied with the government “angry mobs”.   Apparently, if you disagree with what comes out of Washington, you have no right to protest.

Pardon me, but the last time I checked, America WAS still a free country.

Has it ever occurred to these people that folks are MAD?

I know in our own community, there is an overwhelming sense of frustration at our elected officials for not listening to their constituents.  People are tired of having bailouts, handouts, stimulus, and everything else shoved down their throats and told they have to like it.

Funny that when Bush was in office and people protested his policies, it was a different story.  At that time, they were just “peaceful protests”.  It appears we have a double standard on our hands.

The DNC claims that the Republicans have paid people to go to these town hall meetings and shout, yell, or otherwise be disruptive.

I am not a Republican, nor am I a Democrat, so take that for what it’s worth.  I consider myself an Independent.  The Republican party has not paid me to feel the way I do, and I happen to AGREE with what people are saying in these town hall meetings.

More often than not, I find myself yelling at the television over the stupidity coming out of Washington.

My personal opinion is that folks in Washington are so out of touch with middle class, mainstream Americans, they have no idea why we should be upset.  They claim they are doing what they are for “the good of the people”.

Hogwash.

Ask your representative what laws we have that give them the right to force these policies on us.  Ask them if they are willing to go on the national health plan they are proposing.  Ask them if they can live on what the average national salary is and live in a home that is on the national average as well.

They aren’t willing to do any of that.

That’s the point.

They want to tell us how to live, but are not willing to abide by the same rules themselves.

And this new Cash for Clunkers plan?  What are they going to do when folks start defaulting on these loans they’ve taken out?  This is a BILLION DOLLARS of our tax money being spent on this program.

How higher does the deficit have to go before it is enough?

The bottom line is this – people are frustrated.  Many of them have lost jobs.  Many are facing homelessness.  Most of us have lost something in this economic downturn.

We are tired of Wall Street executives getting OUTRAGEOUS bonuses with our tax dollars for a job they have NOT done well.

We are tired of Senators buying new airplanes for themselves because they don’t want to fly coach with everyone else.

We are tired of  “too big to fail” when regular businesses who make bad decisions are forced to close or go into bankruptcy.

We are tired of flooding our representatives phone lines begging them not to vote for things only to be told they will vote “for what seems best to them”.

In short, we are tired.

We are tired of not being listened to.  We are tired of being told that this administration “inherited the problem”.  Sorry folks – unemployment is worse now than it was in January.  It is officially your baby – you rock it.

We are frustrated.

We are average people.

We are all races, creeds, and colors.

Daring to speak out against what we know is wrong?

What did you really expect?

People can only be pushed so far before they start to push back.

Elections are coming in 2010.

I will personally vote for ANY candidate other than who our current incumbants are, just to get them out of office.

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We looked at furniture recently – just to get an idea of what was available and price.  While looking at one store, we were told that there are only TWO furniture manufacturers left in the US.  Everything else is made overseas and shipped in.

We were disappointed in the selection available – everything was leather or microsuede.  The salesman said that they have manufactured furniture that is “universal” so that it can be shipped to Russia, the US, or wherever.

My concern is this – what do we make anymore?

(Bad decisions on the part of our elected officials doesn’t count here.)

We have become a nation of consumers, not manufacturers.

I have started paying attention, and it’s hard to find things MADE IN THE USA.  Items made in China may be cheaper, but they have put Americans out of work, not to mention the quality of items is horrible.  I blame myself just as much as everyone else.  Too often I have purchased based on price alone instead of thinking about what our money is supporting.

The question is – what do we do about it?

For myself, I am trying to make a concerted effort to buy items made here in the US.  With all of us pinching pennies, it’s not always easy.  I worry about what we will do when we no longer grow our own food (we are dangerously close to this already).

Will we become a Third World Country and other nations have to ship relief aid to us?

This has not happened overnight – it has taken decades of this slowly creeping into our way of life.  Pay attention to what you spend your hard earned money on.

Otherwise we may all be buying CDs to learn how to speak Chinese.

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If you’re like me, you cringe spending $5 on a bottle of cleaner when you can make something yourself that will work just as well, if not better.

Over the years, I’ve found several things that have saved us some cash, plus kept our house sparkling clean.

WINDOW and GLASS CLEANER

A friend found this in an old cookbook, and we couldn’t believe how well it worked!

Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 quart of water (I normally use a bowl for this).  Stir well. Use a rag to wash whatever you’re cleaning, then a dry cloth to buff dry.  You will be amazed!

ALL PURPOSE CLEANER

To disinfect and still be able to prounce the ingredients in the cleaner, plain ol’ white vinegar works great.  I keep a spray bottle mixed up at all times with half vinegar/half water.   Works on countertops, mirrors (I prefer the cornstarch method for mirrors, but vinegar will work if you’re in a hurry), stovetops, dining room tables, etc.

I use vinegar and water in a sprayer when mopping my kitchen floors.  I have one of those Swiffer wet jet thingys, but I’m too cheap to buy replacement pads/cleaner for it.  So – I bought some inexpensive jersey material at Wally World and sewed my own pads (which are washable) to mop floors with.  Just spray the floors with the vinegar mixture, then mop clean.  Throw the pad in the wash.  Voila!

Vinegar also works well to take hairspray residue off of lavatory sinks.  Ask me how I know.  😛

SOAP SCUM ON SHOWER DOORS

My equally frugal mother supplied this tip.

Fill a bowl with water (old whipped topping container works great for this), add some Dawn dishwashing liquid and a healthy splash or two of vinegar.  Stir well.  Soak a rag and wash shower door with mixture, then rinse clean.  I have not found any commercial cleaner that does as well as this!

CLEANING WOODEN DECKS

We bought a power washer a few years ago which has been awesome for cleaning the outside of the house, lawn furniture, and our wooden decks.  However, over time, anything wooden will need something a little extra to power off the crud that has built up on it.  Bleach in a sprayer works great – just spray it on, let it sit for a few minutes, then power wash off.  It leaves the wood looking so much cleaner.  After it dries thoroughly, I normally put another yearly coat of water sealer on the deck.

Hope these tips will save you some money and a trip to the store!  🙂

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